The FBI said Wednesday that revelations agents pressured Twitter to muzzle its own users for so-called “misinformation” and “foreign influence” and falsely warned of a “hack-and-leak” operation involving first son Hunter Biden were just business as usual.
“The correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries,” the FBI told The Post in a statement in response to the latest jaw-dropping revelations from the “Twitter Files.”
“As evidenced in the correspondence,” the bureau went on, “the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers.
“The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public,” the statement concluded. “It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”
On Monday, independent journalist Michael Shellenberger revealed that the FBI pushed Twitter to suppress The Post’s blockbuster October 2020 scoop about Hunter Biden’s laptop by warning it could be part of a Russian trick — despite having taken possession of the laptop months earlier from a Delaware repair shop.
Yoel Roth, Twitter’s now-former head of trust and safety, has since given sworn testimony that the feds had primed him to view any reporting on the laptop as a “Russian ‘hack and leak’ operation” meant to discredit 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
In a separate deposition, FBI San Francisco Special Agent Elvis Chan, the bureau’s main liaison with Twitter, admitted its warnings were overblown, saying: “Through our investigations, we did not see any similar competing intrusions to what had happened in 2016.”
In an interview with Fox News Tuesday night, Shellenberger said he found a “disturbing pattern” of “relentless pressure by external FBI agents on Twitter to basically adapt its content moderation, also to share information.”
In fact, the reporter revealed, there were so many former FBI employees working at Twitter in the runup to the 2020 election that they had their own private Slack channel, “Bu alumni,” complete with a crib sheet to onboard new members.
Other disclosures, by fellow journalists Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss, show that the FBI treated Twitter as a “subsidiary” and flagged numerous accounts for purportedly harmful “misinformation” — many of them low-follower users who trafficked in satire.
“Instead of chasing child sex predators or terrorists,” Taibbi tweeted Dec. 16, “the FBI has agents — lots of them — analyzing and mass-flagging social media posts. Not as part of any criminal investigation, but as a permanent, end-in-itself surveillance operation. People should not be okay with this.”