The most damning Twitter File just dropped, highlighting FBI wrongdoing
Michael Shellenberger has published the latest exposé on Twitter, and this time, it’s not Twitter that looks corrupt; it’s the FBI, which knowingly lied to social media outlets about the Hunter Biden laptop. It’s impossible to believe that it did so for any other reason than to affect the outcome of the 2020 presidential election by hiding Joe Biden’s corruption.
Let’s get the most important point out first: The FBI knew at all relevant times that Hunter Biden’s hard drive was the real deal and that every bit of information on it—crooked dealings with foreign governments, money laundering for Joe, sexually obsessive videos, drug usage—was entirely legitimate. Nevertheless, the FBI aggressively worked with Twitter and other social media outlets to suppress this fact by falsely claiming that the hard drive was “Russian disinformation” or a hack.
Shellenberger’s Twitter thread exposing this manifest election interference is extremely long, so I’ll summarize the high points. The thread itself is at the end of this post.
Image by Andrea Widburg
1. FBI officials always knew that Biden’s hard drive was real.
2. The day before the NY Post wrote about the laptop, the FBI was reaching out to Yoel Roth on its special one-way FBITwitter line.
3. The NY Post publishes its completely accurate exposé, which Twitter and other social media companies immediately censor. What happened? The FBI.
4. Long before the NY Post story, when word was getting out about Hunter’s laptop and its intersection with Joe Biden, the FBI continuously told Twitter and Facebook to dismiss the information as a Russian “hack and leak” operation, even though the FBI conceded it had no information of hacks and leaks in 2020.
5. Twitter itself had almost no evidence of Russian intrusion on the site. The FBI, though, was so insistent about getting Twitter to share what little info it had that even Roth pushed back. Nevertheless, in July 2020, the FBI gets temporary top secret clearances for Twitter executives to “share information” about election threats. The continuous pressure primed Roth to believe anything the FBI said about alleged “Russian disinformation.”
6. At this point, Shellenberger notes that Twitter’s upper management was teeming with employees who worked for the FBI, including Jim Baker, many of whom were affiliated with James Comey’s anti-Trump campaign.
7. In September, the prestigious left-wing Aspen Institute had a “tabletop exercise” to prep social media and traditional media people for a “hack-and-dump” relating to Hunter Biden—all aimed at shaping coverage.
8. By mid-September, the FBI had created an encrypted virtual war room for itself, Twitter executives, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
9. A month before the NY Post broke the Hunter Biden laptop story, the FBI’s Laura Dehmlow (head of the Foreign Influence Task Force) and Elvis Chan (the senior agent who communicated most frequently with Twitter) gave a classified briefing to Jim Baker. Again, the agents knew the laptop was real.
10. Right after the Post story broke, Roth was troubled that he couldn’t find a clear reason to ban it. Baker—who knew otherwise—insisted that the laptop was faked, hacked, or both.
11. Within hours of the story's publication, primed by the FBI’s and Baker’s lies, Twitter believed the hacking narrative. That same day, Baker had a phone call with Matthew Perry in the FBI’s General Counsel Office.
12. The FBI persuaded Twitter that the laptop did not come from a whistleblower.
13. The FBI may have created a false warning to elected officials about foreign influence, a warning they could then leak to the media.
14. The FBI then falsely and unnecessarily briefed Sens. Grassley and Johnson, saying the Russians were interfering with their investigation into Hunter Biden, again shaping the narrative.
15. Thanks to the FBI’s pressure, social media and traditional news outlets censored the absolutely true Hunter Biden laptop story that showed Hunter’s and his father’s corruption.
16. While the FBI was pushing Twitter so hard, it was paying Twitter for staff time: $3,415,323 by February 2021. This is important because Sundance, at the Conservative Treehouse, has consistently said that Twitter didn’t make money from advertisements; instead, it was a government-funded communication operation (although I can’t find the specific post in which he said it).
Here’s the coda to the above narrative showing the FBI actively trying to interfere in an election by knowingly and falsely claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop was fake so that the FBI could get social and traditional media outlets to censor the story. A recent TIPP poll reported that more than half of American voters would have been at least somewhat likely to change their votes had they known the truth.
The above is my summary. Here’s Michael Shellenberger’s complete “Twitter Files: Part 7”:
In Twitter Files #6, we saw the FBI relentlessly seek to exercise influence over Twitter, including over its content, its users, and its data. https://t.co/g66XzH9ISr— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
The story begins in December 2019 when a Delaware computer store owner named John Paul (J.P.) Mac Isaac contacts the FBI about a laptop that Hunter Biden had left with him— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
On Dec 9, 2019, the FBI issues a subpoena for, and takes, Hunter Biden's laptop. https://t.co/TdaYhHMVRH pic.twitter.com/JxdkrkgAkI
Shortly before 7 pm ET on October 13, Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, emails JP Mac Isaac.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
Hunter and Mesires had just learned from the New York Post that its story about the laptop would be published the next day. pic.twitter.com/59RV5h8ZsM
8. The next day, October 14, 2020, The New York Post runs its explosive story revealing the business dealings of President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. Every single fact in it was accurate. pic.twitter.com/TC2AnLNJAw— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
10. On Dec 2, @mtaibbi described the debate inside Twitter over its decision to censor a wholly accurate article.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
Since then, we have discovered new info that points to an organized effort by the intel community to influence Twitter & other platforms https://t.co/1ZF3oottKR
12. And yet, during all of 2020, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies repeatedly primed Yoel Roth to dismiss reports of Hunter Biden’s laptop as a Russian “hack and leak” operation.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
This is from a sworn declaration by Roth given in December 2020.https://t.co/IvTjyYw9iR pic.twitter.com/5iq2ATB3bW
14. Were the FBI warnings of a Russian hack-and-leak operation relating to Hunter Biden based on *any* new intel?— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
No, they weren't
“Through our investigations, we did not see any similar competing intrusions to what had happened in 2016,” admitted FBI agent Elvis Chan in Nov. pic.twitter.com/tFPMqbydbA
16. In fact, Twitter debunked false claims by journalists of foreign influence on its platform— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
"We haven’t seen any evidence to support that claim” by @oneunderscore__ @NBC News of foreign-controlled bots.
“Our review thus far shows a small-scale domestic troll effort…” pic.twitter.com/fWYNv7mMea
18. It's not the first time that Twitter's Roth has pushed back against the FBI. In January 2020, Roth resisted FBI efforts to get Twitter to share data outside of the normal search warrant process. pic.twitter.com/NAssnLMpds— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
20. Time and again, FBI asks Twitter for evidence of foreign influence & Twitter responds that they aren’t finding anything worth reporting.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
“[W]e haven’t yet identified activity that we’d typically refer to you (or even flag as interesting in the foreign influence context).” pic.twitter.com/ghGNz4ZzXB
22. Then, in July 2020, the FBI’s Elvis Chan arranges for temporary Top Secret security clearances for Twitter executives so that the FBI can share information about threats to the upcoming elections. pic.twitter.com/YXCR2Guxz5— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
24. Recently, Yoel Roth told @karaswisher that he had been primed to think about the Russian hacking group APT28 before news of the Hunter Biden laptop came out.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
When it did, Roth said, "It set off every single one of my finely tuned APT28 hack-and-leap campaign alarm bells." pic.twitter.com/RKoR4NtH1s
26. Who is Jim Baker? He's former general counsel of the FBI (2014-18) & one of the most powerful men in the U.S. intel community.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
Baker has moved in and out of government for 30 years, serving stints at CNN, Bridgewater (a $140 billion asset management firm) and Brookings pic.twitter.com/FggRI2zITX
28. Baker wasn't the only senior FBI exec. involved in the Trump investigation to go to Twitter.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
Dawn Burton, the former dep. chief of staff to FBI head James Comey, who initiated the investigation of Trump, joined Twitter in 2019 as director of strategy.
30. Efforts continued to influence Twitter's Yoel Roth.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
In Sept 2020, Roth participated in an Aspen Institute “tabletop exercise” on a potential "Hack-and-Dump" operation relating to Hunter Biden
The goal was to shape how the media covered it — and how social media carried it pic.twitter.com/lQSorONUSh
32. By mid-Sept, 2020, Chan & Roth had set up an encrypted messaging network so employees from FBI & Twitter could communicate.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
They also agree to create a “virtual war room” for “all the [Internet] industry plus FBI and ODNI” [Office of the Director of National Intelligence]. pic.twitter.com/Dhy8LotZHU
34. On Oct 14, shortly after @NYPost publishes its Hunter Biden laptop story, Roth says, “it isn’t clearly violative of our Hacked Materials Policy, nor is it clearly in violation of anything else," but adds, “this feels a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation.” pic.twitter.com/xMnEWzgxdU— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
36. And yet it's inconceivable Baker believed the Hunter Biden emails were either fake or hacked. The @nypost had included a picture of the receipt signed by Hunter Biden, and an FBI subpoena showed that the agency had taken possession of the laptop in December 2019. pic.twitter.com/hwr2zBouly— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
38. By 10 am, Twitter execs had bought into a wild hack-and-dump story— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
“The suggestion from experts - which rings true - is there was a hack that happened separately, and they loaded the hacked materials on the laptop that magically appeared at a repair shop in Delaware” pic.twitter.com/n2Xj9mP1Hs
40. The influence operation persuaded Twitter execs that the Hunter Biden laptop did *not* come from a whistleblower.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
One linked to a Hill article, based on a WaPo article, from Oct 15, which falsely suggested that Giuliani’s leak of the laptop had something to do with Russia. pic.twitter.com/VdrQhf2YMB
42. In 2020, the FBI gave a briefing to Senator Grassley and Johnson, claiming evidence of “Russian interference” into their investigation of Hunter Biden.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
The briefing angered the Senators, who say it was done to discredit their investigation.https://t.co/5QsJKMPhpM
44. Notably, then-FBI General Counsel Jim Baker was investigated *twice,* in 2017 and 2019, for leaking information to the news media.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
“You’re saying he’s under criminal investigation? That’s why you’re not letting him answer?” Meadows asked.
46. The FBI’s influence campaign may have been helped by the fact that it was paying Twitter millions of dollars for its staff time.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
“I am happy to report we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019!” reports an associate of Jim Baker in early 2021. pic.twitter.com/SmNse97QxK
In response to the Twitter Files revelation of high-level FBI agents at Twitter, @Jim_Jordan said, “I have concerns about whether the government was running a misinformation operation on We the People.”https://t.co/nlbBPTeDg8— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
Anyone who reads the Twitter Files, regardless of their political orientation, should share those concerns.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022