Following the latest Twitter bomb dropped by Elon Musk, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz criticized the FBI, saying the agency needs some “serious reshaping” for participating in possible free speech violations.
Gaetz promised House Republicans would demand the agency account for its cozy relationship with the social media firm once the GOP is in charge.
The Fort Walton Beach Republican was responding to what’s known as “Twitter Files 6,” the latest iteration of Twitter’s internal communications that Musk has leaked. This document dump was provided to journalist Matt Taibbi, who focused on the FBI’s close connection to executives at Twitter responsible for moderating content.
“Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive as if it were a subsidiary,” Taibbi wrote, adding that between January 2020 and November 2022, FBI agents exchanged more than 150 emails with former Twitter Trust and Safety manager Yoel Roth.
Taibbi noted that many of the emails were “mundane,” but “a surprisingly high number are requested by the FBI for Twitter to take action on election misinformation, even involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts.”
At one point, the FBI dedicated 80 field agents to monitoring “foreign influence and election tampering.”
“It’s no secret the government analyzes bulk data for all sorts of purposes, everything from tracking terror suspects to making economic forecasts,” Taibbi wrote. “The #TwitterFiles show something new: agencies like the FBI and DHS [Department of Homeland Security] regularly sending social media content to Twitter through multiple entry points, pre-flagged for moderation.”
“What stands out is the sheer quantity of reports from the government.”
Taibbi said many of the accounts the FBI asked for action on were satirical and had “relatively low engagement.” Taibbi also described the FBI’s relationship with Twitter as having a “master-canine quality,” which Twitter perpetuated by routinely suspending or banning accounts without question at the FBI’s request.
And President Joe Biden was apparently ready to weaponize federal law enforcement to continue to suppress speech.
Taibbi noted that in September 2022, Jim Baker, a former top FBI who left the agency for Twitter, was seeking to facilitate weekly meetings between the social media company and reps from DHS, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Taibbi’s thread shows that when a Twitter exec who participated in the meeting asked about “impediments” of the FBI sharing classified information “with industry,” the “FBI was adamant no impediments to sharing exist.”
This would be the same FBI that raided former President Donald Trump’s home because he allegedly had classified information in a broom closet.
“This passage [about impediments] underscores the unique one-big-happy-family vibe between Twitter and the FBI. With what other firm would the FBI blithely agree to ‘no impediments’ to classified information?” Taibbi wrote.
He pointed out that others outside the federal government, such as state officials in California, went through the FBI’s portal to get Twitter to act.
Taibbi concluded, “The takeaway: what most people think of as the ‘deep state’ is really a tangled collaboration of state agencies, private contractors, and (sometimes state-funded) NGOs. The lines become so blurred as to be meaningless.”
Rep. Gaetz suggested on Twitter on Friday that House Republicans would get at the meaning once they take over next month.
“@FBI has a lot to answer for after the latest drop of #TwitterFiles6,” Gaetz tweeted. He added that he and GOP House Judiciary Committee members Reps. Jim Jordan, Mike Johnson, Andy Biggs, and Dan Bishop will be asking the questions. “Clear your calendar,” Gaetz added.
On Saturday, Gaetz continued, tweeting, “The FBI is designing what u see so they can control what you think & how u behave.” He pointed out that even before the latest chapter of the Twitter files, the FBI had altered evidence, lied under oath, targeted Trump and suppressed evidence about the Russia-collusion hoax.
“The Bureau needs a serious reshaping,” Gaetz noted.