Twittergate files reveal FBI offered to become ‘belly button’ for filtering government demands

The “Twitter Files” latest revelations show that the CIA warned the platform that a book detailing Joe and Hunter Biden’s corruption in Ukraine was “at least partially directed by Russian intelligence” and that the FBI was the “belly button” for filtering government demands.

Journalist Matt Taibbi exposed Twitter’s extensive cooperation with the FBI as well as the CIA inserting itself into the mix by issuing a warning concerning a book by former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, which contains assertions of corruption by the US government and the Bidens.

“We assess with high confidence that in the summer of 2020 members of a Russian influence organization, which is at least partially directed by Russian Intelligence, were aware of a production plan associated with an upcoming book,” the CIA said in a message to Twitter. “While it is unclear at this time how involved Russian intelligence might be in the creation or promotion of this book, they have been known to direct this same influence organization to propagate similar information in previous operations.”

It’s unknown if the social media platform took any action regarding the book, titled, “True Stories of Joe Biden’s International Corruption in Ukraine,” according to the Daily Mail.

Shokin was notably Ukraine’s top prosecutor from 2015 to 2016. He was eventually fired for allegedly being corrupt, or at the very least, looking the other way.

The book doubles down on claims that Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company where Hunter Biden was a board member, paid the president’s son millions of dollars to stop prosecutors from cracking down on corruption at the company. Shokin also claims that Joe Biden ordered that he be fired so he couldn’t get to the bottom of the corruption.

The “Twitter Files” dump notes that the platform had a falling out with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) in February 2020. The social media company established regular communications and received requests from an assortment of intelligence agencies, according to emails that were released by Taibbi. These connections were solidified after the company clashed with the Global Engagement Center, a State Department-funded agency that regularly flagged Russian accounts in 2020 reports.

Internal memos show that the intelligence agency flagged alleged Russian and Chinese misinformation being spread on Twitter about COVID. The agency pointed to accounts that ostensibly acted as “Russian personas and proxies” that were “describing the Coronavirus as an engineered bioweapon,” blaming “research conducted at the Wuhan institute,” and “attributing the appearance of the virus to the CIA.”

Twitter executives disputed the GEC’s findings, claiming they were flawed and sought direct communications with other government agencies. This led to the FBI becoming a “belly button to the [United States government]” for Twitter. Agent Elvis Chan described the relationship that way to former Twitter Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth.

The GEC decided to go public with its findings on misinformation. They produced a list of 5,500 accounts that would “amplify Chinese propaganda and disinformation” about COVID. The agency also published a list of nearly 250,000 such accounts to the public.

“Roth saw GEC’s move as an attempt by the GEC to use intel from other agencies to ‘insert themselves’ into the content moderation club that included Twitter, Facebook, the FBI, DHS, and others,” Taibbi tweeted.

After that dust-up, Twitter documents show that the FBI warned the company that the GEC was seeking to be the middleman for industry calls between social media and intelligence leaders.

Roth evidently saw the GEC as too political while it was operating under the Trump administration, but thought the FBI and DHS were more “apolitical,” according to a May 6, 2020 email. He also said in an email in June of that year that bringing the GEC on board would pose “major risks” because of the 2020 elections.

“I think they thought the FBI was less Trumpy,” a former Department of Defense official told Taibbi in an interview.

As the GEC and other agencies jostled for more control at Twitter, the FBI stepped up and offered to serve as “conduits” for the rest of the intelligence agencies, in effect, becoming the intelligence “belly button.” The social media platform was evidently in bed with everyone in the intel community.

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