The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

#TWITTERGATE: Elon Musk Exposes Twitter’s 2020 Election Interference

Posted on | December 3, 2022 | 2 Comments

One of the things Elon Musk bought for $44 billion was proprietary rights to Twitter’s internal communications and — whoo, doggies!what a treasure trove it proves to be:

Elon Musk’s Twitter released internal discussions about censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story Friday night via journalist Matt Taibbi.
The documents reveal widespread internal and external concern at the suppression of the story, a decision made without CEO Jack Dorsey’s knowledge and spearheaded by Vijaya Gadde, then the head of Trust & Safety — Twitter’s top censor. . . .
The documents, mostly internal communications from Twitter and emails with external parties, showed widespread unease with the decision and concerns about how it could be explained to lawmakers and the public. . . .

• Trust & Safety chief Vijaya Gadde, long believed to be the driving force of censorship at the company, spearheaded the decision.
• Numerous top Twitter employees, especially from the communications and policy teams — whose job is to maintain relations with lawmakers and the press — expressed concern at the decision.
• Immediate warnings from Twitter’s Washington D.C. contacts followed, including an email from Democrat representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) who warned the decision had generated “huge backlash” on capitol hill, and expressed concerns about Twitter undermining the freedom to publish.

Aside from Rep. Khanna’s communications, which imagined a future in which newspapers would be unable to publish hacked evidence of war crimes, other Democrats reportedly complained that Twitter had not gone far enough in its censorship of the press.

Ace of Spades was critical of the narrative about what is being call Twittergate, and I’ll get to his criticism momentarily, but first I want to make a couple of points of my own. In the long Twitter thread where Matt Taibbi told this story, two messages struck me as “smoking guns”:

On the first point, you see the “PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL” message that “our teams continue to investigate the origins of the materials included in the reporting” — raising the question: “Why?”

The article by the New York Post — the one that Twitter was suppressing — explained exactly how they had obtained the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop, which had been abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop. This clearly was not “hacking,” so why the need to “investigate”? What would have led anyone at Twitter to suspect hacking at all? It’s a nonsensical excuse, but is partially explained by the second point: The casual mention that The “existing policy framework” (i.e., the Hacked Materials Policy) originated as a response to “the 2016 election” (i.e., Team Hillary whining that they were victims of “Russian collusion” hackers). So you see that the claim that the Hunter Biden laptop story was the result of “hacking” was directly connected to Hillary Clinton’s claims about her emails being “hacked” in 2016. And, of course, you had Deep State “sources” telling the media that Hunter Biden’s laptop was part of a “Russian disinformation” operation. So this paranoid conspiracy theory — “Russia! Russia! Russia!” — became the basis of censorship.

Which brings us to Point Three:

OH EM EFFING GEE! James Baker, an ex-FBI lawyer who was disgraced for his role in the “Russian collusion” hoax, was directly involved in the decision to censor the New York Post story! And notice, also, that Baker seems to be the guy whose messages routinely contain the “PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL” header, indicating that he was also the source of the message about “our team” investigating the Hunter Biden laptop story under the Hacked Materials Policy.

So here is the meat of Ace’s rant:

“Mistakes were made.” “Protocols let us down.”
The FBI, which already had the laptop and knew it was real and likely to leak, already told Twitter to expect Russian hack and “dumps,” to prepare them to take just this action. They didn’t have to specifically tell them to suppress the laptop — they’d already prepared the battlespace.
This is bullshit. I’m disgusted and done.

>>>Ace: your take is the blame is being placed on Twitter and not the police state apparatus?

Yes, the FBI is being excused, and it’s being claimed that there was just a breakdown at Twitter, rather than deliberate suppression.
James Baker, General Counsel at twitter, is a former FBI lawyer who himself was disgraced for his role in Russiagate!
He lied about the FISA warrant and helped cover up the fraud perpetrated on the court.
And here he is at Twitter advising them to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story!
Nothing to see here, folks!

Yes, this is what’s revealed, but how is “the FBI being excused” by this revelation? I think Matt Taibbi (and Elon Musk) trust readers to add 2+2 and arrive at the sum of four, which is in fact what both Ace and I have done with these messages. What Musk wanted to show — the purpose of this historic act of transparency — was the inner workings of the decision-making process at Twitter in 2020, and the role of James Baker is very telling. But the fact that Taibbi didn’t editorialize about this aspect of the story in his Twitter thread does not mean that Taibbi (and Musk) are engaged in a “mistakes were made” whitewash. There will be a lot of follow-up and fallout from #Twittergate, I’m sure, and eventually the new GOP House majority will have committee hearings on this sordid mess.

My good friend John Hoge had some thoughts as Taibbi unspooled his tweetstream last night, and I’m sure we’ll discuss this at length tonight at 7 p.m. ET on The Other Podcast.



2 Responses to “#TWITTERGATE: Elon Musk Exposes Twitter’s 2020 Election Interference”

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