By Samantha Flom December 21, 2022 Updated: December 21, 2022
Following the latest revelations from the “Twitter Files,” Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk indicated on Dec. 20 that he would support a congressional investigation into the FBI’s alleged efforts to censor social media users.
On Monday, author Michael Shellenberger presented the seventh installment of the Twitter Files exposé, sharing internal documents from the social media company that he said described as an “organized effort” by intelligence officials to discredit leaked information about Hunter Biden both before and after the New York Post published content from the younger Biden’s laptop on Oct. 14, 2020, in the lead up to the presidential election.
Commenting on those revelations on Tuesday, former PayPal COO David Sacks suggested the creation of a “new Church Commission” to investigate the alleged censorship initiatives of the FBI and intelligence community, referencing a congressional committee that investigated abuses of the intelligence community in the 1970s.
Musk, sharing that tweet, responded, “Hear, hear!!”
In Monday’s installment, Shellenberger delved into the reasons why Twitter had moved so quickly to censor The New York Post’s “explosive” story on Hunter Biden’s business dealings, even though, as would later be confirmed, “Every single fact in it was accurate.”
Internal emails disclosed by Shellenberger showed that, in the weeks and months leading up to the 2020 election, Twitter was under increasing pressure from the FBI to report any evidence of foreign influence on the election.
“We have seen a sustained (If uncoordinated) effort by the IC [intelligence community] to push us to share more info & change our API policies,” noted then-director of policy and philanthropy, U.S. and Canada, Carlos Monje Jr., in one exchange on Jan. 2, 2020. “They are probing & pushing everywhere they can (including by whispering to congressional staff).”
Another revelation from Monday’s disclosures was that by the end of September 2020, the FBI and Twitter had set up an encrypted messaging network for communications and had agreed to create a “virtual war room” for the FBI and other intelligence agencies.
Additionally, emails revealed that between October 2019 and February 2021, the FBI paid Twitter employees more than $3.4 million for their time.
Noting this, Musk directed a pointed inquiry at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
“As (outgoing) Chair of House Intelligence, did you approve hidden state censorship in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States @RepAdamSchiff?” he asked on Twitter.
The FBI, however, is housed under the Executive Branch of the U.S. government.
Earlier this week, incoming House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) confirmed that the committee intends to conduct an investigation into the intelligence community’s alleged collusion with social media networks to censor the American public.
“We are definitely pursuing the Department of Justice and also the FBI,” Turner said, noting that subpoenas would be issued as part of the probe.
“While we pursue the intelligence community to try to hold them accountable, while we’re doing that, Elon Musk is showing what’s happening on the other side with the willing partners, the mainstream media, social media, and really exposing coordination that was occurring between the FBI and them,” he added.
According to Turner, one of the House Republicans’ primary objectives will be to obtain and examine the FBI’s “secret files” on its communications and coordination with social media companies.
Adding that requests for such information have thus far been resisted by the FBI, the congressman said he found it particularly troubling that the bureau appeared to have misled companies into believing its efforts were intelligence-related when they were not.
“The FBI had, under the cover of saying they were pursuing foreign malign influence, had really exploded into activities that involved engaging with mainstream media and social media, and really impacting what is the normal debate of democracy,” he noted.
Turner further added that the committee would seek to uncover who had been coordinating the FBI’s efforts and work to ensure it could never happen again.
“Luckily, the January 6 committee has established some great legal precedent that shows the Congress has full access,” he said. “So, they’re going to have very much a difficult time trying to prevent us [from] getting those documents.”
Neither the Justice Department nor Rep. Adam Schiff’s office immediately returned The Epoch Times’ requests for comment. However, in a statement to Fox News, the FBI held that its leaked correspondence with Twitter merely showed examples of its “traditional, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries.”
“As evidenced in the correspondence, the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers,” the statement continues. “The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”
This article was updated to include a statement from the FBI.
Samantha Flom is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering U.S. politics and news. A graduate of Syracuse University, she has a background in journalism and nonprofit communications.Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.