The House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government will hear next week from two journalists behind Twitter owner Elon Musk’s release of internal documents, in a hearing focused on FBI misconduct that was revealed through the so-called Twitter Files.
Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, independent journalists who were given access to Mr. Musk’s vault, will testify before the panel for its second hearing, scheduled for March 9.
In December, Mr. Taibbi exposed the extent to which the FBI worked with Twitter company executives to moderate content on the platform.
Those efforts included weekly meetings with Twitter executives before the company suppressed The New York Post’s report in 2020 exposing emails found on Hunter Biden’s now-infamous laptop computer.
During those meetings, which included officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, Twitter executives were cued to rumors that Hunter Biden would be the target of a “hack and leak operation.”
The FBI took possession of the laptop in December 2019, 10 months before the newspaper published materials from the computer, raising questions as to whether the bureau actively sought to discredit materials they had already authenticated.
The Post’s report, which ran on Oct. 14, 2020, set off an avalanche of embarrassing emails, photos and text messages pulled from the laptop computer. It revealed details about Hunter Biden’s struggles with addiction and his hugely profitable foreign business dealings that critics say smack of influence peddling.
The emails also refuted Mr. Biden’s claims that he never spoke with his son about overseas business deals.
Mr. Biden’s campaign branded the now-authenticated laptop as Russian disinformation, a theory that was peddled by more than 50 former U.S. senior intelligence officials in an open letter to the public.
The steady drip of internal documents has also revealed Twitter’s left-wing bent that led to the censorship of conservative viewpoints and the unprecedented decision to permanently ban then-President Donald Trump from the platform.
The Twitter Files ignited a firestorm on Capitol Hill.
Republicans on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee grilled Twitter’s former chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, former deputy general counsel James Baker and former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth in a hearing last month focused on their decision to suppress The New York Post’s story exposing the Hunter Biden laptop.
The executives told lawmakers that they made a mistake when they censored the Hunter Biden laptop computer story, but they brushed off accusations that they were directed to do so by the federal government.
Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican who serves on the oversight panel and chairs the panel probing the so-called weaponization of the federal government, seized on the witnesses as they dismissed concerns that the government was involved. He noted that the FBI held weekly meetings with Twitter executives before the company suppressed The Post’s report.
Mr. Jordan later issued subpoenas demanding that the chief executive officers from Facebook parent, Meta Platforms; Google parent, Alphabet; Microsoft; Apple and Amazon.com turn over any communication between their companies and the federal government relating to content moderation or suppression.
• Joseph Clark can be reached at email@example.com.
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