- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Our intelligence apparatus — or “the deep state,” in former President Donald Trump’s words — has meddled in two presidential elections acting on behalf of the Democratic Party. Instead of reporting on it, the mainstream media have served as willing pawns of these bureaucratic actors to amplify misinformation. Congress has done nothing about it. And no one in any federal agency has been held accountable.

How can this happen in a country that prides itself on its “free and fair” elections?

Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files,” which have been released by independent journalists in a series of tweets, shed light on how pervasively corrupt America’s intelligence agencies are — especially when it comes to favoring one political party over another.

Let’s start with James Baker. During the 2016 election cycle, Mr. Baker served as general counsel at the FBI under Director James Comey. That year, he was personally involved in writing an exoneration memo for then-candidate Hillary Clinton over having classified information on her personal server — before she was even interviewed by the bureau. He then got deeply involved in spreading the “Russiagate” hoax against Mr. Trump.

It was Mr. Baker who liaised with Michael Sussmann, the Clinton campaign lawyer who fed the FBI bogus information about Mr. Trump’s supposed back-door communication channel to Russian-based Alfa Bank. It was Mr. Baker who secured a FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page, based in part on the unverified and salacious Steele dossier, financed in part by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.

After Mr. Trump won the presidency, it was Mr. Baker who gossiped with FBI colleagues that Mr. Trump’s Cabinet was ready to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Mr. Baker resigned from the FBI in 2018. One year later, it was reported that he had been under criminal investigation for leaking classified information to reporters during his time at the bureau.

Still, Mr. Baker had no problem finding his next gig — as Twitter’s deputy general counsel in the pre-Musk era. It was there that he continued his dirty work against Mr. Trump. As the Twitter Files reveal, Mr. Baker weighed in on suppressing the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop scoop in October 2020, just weeks before the election. He also delayed — and perhaps scrubbed — some details of the FBI’s participation in the first installment of the Twitter Files, as it was he who vetted the first chapter of the Files without Mr. Musk’s knowledge before it was released.

Upon learning that, Mr. Musk fired Mr. Baker for his “possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue.”

What is unclear is how much influence Mr. Baker peddled to the FBI — and vice versa — when he was at Twitter. We know that in the run-up to the 2020 presidential contest, Twitter’s head of “trust and safety,” Yoel Roth, had weekly meetings with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence regarding “election security.” We know Twitter was actively monitoring Mr. Trump’s feed and suppressing his content. We know that conservative Twitter accounts that supported Mr. Trump were blacklisted and shadow-banned, despite the company’s denials at the time.

We know requests to censor some content were made by both the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee directly to Twitter and were directly “handled” by company executives. Conservatives — including those in Mr. Trump’s White House — simply didn’t enjoy the same access and accommodation in this so-called digital public square.

Then there were the 51 former intelligence officers who issued a statement in October 2020 saying the Hunter Biden laptop story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

That gave Big Tech, the Biden campaign and the mainstream media all the cover they needed to completely ignore the now-authenticated laptop in the campaign’s final days, as well as its revelations about the business transactions between the younger Mr. Biden, “the big guy” and foreign countries, while Joe Biden served as Barack Obama’s vice president.

Did Mr. Baker play a role in crafting the statement? Although he didn’t sign it, he certainly runs in the same circles as other 2016 “Russiagate” figures such as John Brennan, Jim Clapper and Mike Hayden. And, as previously stated, the ex-intelligence officers’ statement gave Twitter the excuse it needed at the time to ban the story and all those who chose to share it (including White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany).

Karine Jean-Pierre, President Biden’s White House press secretary, has refused to comment on the 2020 Twitter revelations, saying she’s ethically constrained in her official position to talk about what occurred during the 2020 presidential campaign. She’s also commented that Twitter is a “private company,” and as such, its decisions are its own.

Maybe so — but not when it acts as an arm of the government at the behest of one party.

It’s not unfair to speculate that Twitter’s once-close relationship with the Biden campaign and now with the Biden White House. Vijaya Gadde, another Twitter executive who played a key role in suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story, was nominated in December 2021 to an advisory role in shaping the Department of Homeland Security’s “disinformation” policy.

And in September, a petition was filed by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and his Missouri counterpart, fellow Republican Eric Schmitt, charged that “dozens of federal officials across at least eleven federal agencies” engaged in a “massive, sprawling federal ‘Censorship Enterprise,’” with the “intent and effect of pressuring social media platforms to censor and suppress private speech that federal officials disfavor.”

Mr. Biden’s White House tried to establish a “Disinformation Governance Board” at DHS before backing down in the face of intense public blowback, and in July 2021 Mr. Biden’s then-press secretary, Jen Psaki, acknowledged that she and her colleagues were “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

The collusion runs deep, and if Republicans ever want to win a national race again, they must hold both these federal bureaucrats and Big Tech accountable.

• Kelly Sadler is the commentary editor at The Washington Times.

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