Twitter Files, Part Six also indicates a bloated and flabby FBI

Does it take ace investigative skills and high-tech expertise to tell Twitter which posts to censor and which accounts to ban?

That's the underside of the Twitter Files, Part Six story from Matt Taibbi, about the FBI expending a lot of agents and a lot of time reading and seeking censorship of tweets and accounts, which was described well by Rajan Laad in his post today here.

According to Taibbi, these files revealed that the FBI had a "master-canine" relationship with Twitter, telling it which posts to censor and which accounts to take "action" on, and like dogs, the Twitter executives jumped to it.



According to the information within the thread, the bureau put 80 agents onto its task force dedicated to censoring tweets.

The censorship orders, or memos stating that certain accounts "may warrant additional action" (nudge, nudge) went out like this:



And what was the content of these supposedly dangerous tweets, which "may warrant additional action" as well as require preservation of evidence for future FBI prosecutions?



Taibbi noted that other sites targeted were low-traffic satirical sites.

So instead of getting the Big Bad Russians as their original mandate against Russian influence in elections went (Fact-check: there was very little of it), they reduced themselves to "The Lives of Others"-style leather-jacketed secret policemen reading and censoring tweets. Back in East Germany, when that sort of thing was going on, the film revealed that it was done by the lowest-of-the-low, most mediocre, most blotting-paper-faced (to use the words of Russian Soviet-era satirical dissident writer Vladimir Voinovich) secret police agents, and was considered a sort of punishment duty given how dull and useless it was.

Over at the FBI, well, the top guys felt differently, did it with alacrity, and still do it. Perhaps that's because they see themelves as in service to the ultimate mediocrity in politics, the senile and blotting-paper-faced Joe Biden.

The agent in charge of this crap in San Francisco, Elvis Chan, a guy with the very fancy title of "Assistant Special Agent in 12 Charge of the Cyber Branch for San Francisco 13 Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" who according to makes $220,898 a year, plus extremely generous bennies. You'd think someone like that would have a very high skill set to be worth that kind of money.

But nooo, instead of employing ace investigative skills to difficult projects, he focuses his time on deleting tweets of low-traffic conservatives on Twitter, especially those who urge their few followers to get out there and vote.

And this is the boss of the FBI's Bay Area cyberthreat operation!

What the heck has this guy been doing?

According to a November 29 deposition he just made in a lawsuit brought on by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry against the Biden administration for colluding with social media, his first, according to the record, he was not only telling Twitter which low-traffic sites to censor, he was doing the same sort of thing with Meta, Google, Yahoo! Wikimedia Common, and Reddit. The transcript is here and I have only gotten through 33 pages of it.

The FBI activity expanded to an 80 agent task force, and the meetings with Twitter and the others went from monthly meetings to weekly meetings.

Who the heck was left to investigate actual crime or real Russian and Chinese activity?

Chan, according to a Google search, is involved in lots of "legal education" work and lawyer clubs, and likes to write papers, which is legitimate, but is also time-consuming. His descriptions of collaborating on meeting preparations with the private group, in the testimony, suggests a lot of glad-handing. 

 Supposedly, he's also an educated guy, having by his own acknowledgement, graduated with a B.A. from the University of Washington, a good but not elitist, school. He also completed a very recent 2021 Masters degree at the Naval Postgraduate School, with a thesis titled: "Fighting Bears and Trolls: An 12 Analysis of Social Media Companies And U.S. Government Efforts to 13 Combat Russian Influence Campaigns During the 2020 U.S. Election."

Which is light on the value-added, rather than a serious project involving high tech expertise, but again, something that would have had to taken up a lot of his time.

What it doesn't suggest is much involvement in real crimes involving national security threats which that the taxpayers pay him to pursue.

Such as maybe this one, described by Avid Halaby on his Substack account, PirateWires:

But back in July, well before the Musk/Twitter discourse went nuclear, Twitter’s former head of security released a shocking whistleblower report alleging, among other things: 

  • that agents of foreign governments such as those of China and India had infiltrated the company and were on its payroll

  • that Twitter’s security systems were egregiously porous and could have allowed external organizations and foreign governments to monitor employee laptops and steal user data such as physical location of last login, phone number, etc. 

  • that its database architecture was so flimsy that Twitter nearly permanently collapsed in the spring of 2021

  • that Twitter’s laughably poor management of user data prevented the company from even detecting, identifying, and resolving security breaches when they happened

  • and that company executives, particularly Parag Agrawal, preferred to lie about all these problems, rather than fix them 

Chinese and Russian infiltration at Twitter ought to concern the FBI a hell of a lot more than scrolling through thousands of tweets and picking out which conservative satirist to censor for "misinformation."

That's their real job to enforce. But of course, we have heard nothing about this, and with the cozy-wozy "master-canine" relationship between the FBI and Twitter's top creatures, you'd think that would be a pretty easy operation to launch with lots of cooperation from Twitter to hose that place out.

But nooo, much better to please Joe Biden and the jackasses at the Department of Justice by censoring conservatives and swinging the election for Democrats than to do the actual work they are paid to do.

The FBI's website is notable for its absence of any really big busts of spies and infiltrators in the past 20 years, as I have noted before. The last big bust of a spy, which was mostly done by the Defense Intelligence Agency, was in 2001, was that of Cuban agent Ana Montes -- who at this late date has almost served her entire prison term and is about to be let out. The bureau hasn't caught anyone of that caliber since.

And other kinds of bad guys? Such as child porno purveyors and illegal alien smugglers, a.k.a, human traffickers, both of whom extensively use Twitter and other social media to sell their wares? Well, the social media companies weren't doing anything about it, and apparently, neither was their master, the FBI. Issues & Insights had an excellent piece here about this dereliction of duty as resources went to censor conservatives.

There's also this interesting case out of Los Angeles, which would also likely involve activity in San Francisco -- the huge cash infusion from Russia that went to RT News ($100 million-plus) on the West Coast and the involvement of RT's local chief as an unpaid board member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences which hands out the Emmy awards. That story, from Deadline Hollywood, came and went as the cash went out, the Academy kicked the RT rep out not for anything he did, but for Russia's war with Ukraine, the RT operation packed up and shut down, and now nobody knows much about what happened. That big cash infusion for West Coast activity as well as the infiltration of the top American cultural institution would be a likely target for the FBI in the old days, but it would take work to find out what was going on.

Why work when all you have to do is read tweets and pick out which ones to censor?

It signals a bloated, top-heavy, organization that is no longer focused much on its national security mission. It's focused on finding bad tweets and shutting down conservatives and swinging elections and it's expending huge resources to do it.

This is a sorry picture. Elon Musk has drawn a lot of attention for hosing out all the deadwood among Twitter's cossetted sybarites who do nothing but eat free food and engage in political activity, ignoring the actual spies in their midst, so much so that whistleblowers have started coming out of the woodwork.

It seems the FBI has got a big deadwood project ahead of it, too, given that it seems to prefer censoring tweets like the little gray men of East Berlin instead of catching real bad guys, who are proliferating. Some sort of change at that outlet seems to be pretty important. Who will be the bureau's Elon Musk to put that agency back to its original mission?

Image: Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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