Independent journalist Michael Shellenberger released a new batch of Twitter Files that showed how the FBI convinced Twitter that the Hunter Biden laptop story was misinformation.
At the center of Twitter’s decision to suppress the story was Jim Baker, the former deputy legal counsel at Twitter, who held a similar role at the FBI before joining Twitter. Baker and the FBI worked together to convince Twitter that the contents of the Hunter Biden laptop story were hacked from another source by Russian agents and put on the laptop that the New York Post reported on.
“During all of 2020, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies repeatedly primed Yoel Roth to dismiss reports of Hunter Biden’s laptop as a Russian ‘hack and leak’ operation, ” Shellenberger wrote. Roth was then head of trust and safety at Twitter.
“Indeed, Twitter executives *repeatedly* reported very little Russian activity. E.g., on Sept 24, 2020, Twitter told the FBI it had removed 345 ‘largely inactive’ accounts ‘linked to previous coordinated Russian hacking attempts.’ They ‘had little reach & low follower accounts,’” Shellenberger continued.
Although Twitter continued to find nothing suspicious, the bureau repeatedly reached out for information.
In July 2020, FBI Assistant Special Agent Elvis Chan arranged for security clearances for Twitter executives so that they can be briefed about election interference the bureau expected to see ahead of the November 2020 election. Baker was one of the executives given the clearance, and Chan acted surprised to learn that Baker was at Twitter.
Baker was not the only ex-FBI agent at Twitter. Shellenberger revealed that there were so many that they had their own Slack channel.
Shellenberger found that after Baker was given clearance, the FBI gave him information intended to influence Roth and other executives to believe the laptop story originated from hacked materials. Baker and FBI agent Laura Dehmlow even had a private meeting where no one else was allowed.
Roth initially pushed back against the idea that there was foreign interference on Twitter. However, after the Post published the story, he conceded.
Shellenberger wrote: “On Oct 14, shortly after @NYPost publishes its Hunter Biden laptop story, Roth says, ‘it isn’t clearly violative of our Hacked Materials Policy, nor is it clearly in violation of anything else,’ but adds, ‘this feels a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation.’”
After Roth’s message, Baker repeatedly insisted that “the Hunter Biden materials were either faked, hacked, or both, and a violation of Twitter policy.”
At around 10 am, hours after the Post published the story, Twitter suppressed it, citing “experts.”
“The suggestion from experts – which rings true – is there was a hack that happened separately, and they loaded the hacked materials on the laptop that magically appeared at a repair shop in Delaware,” Roth wrote in an email.
Shellenberger concluded that the influence and pressure from the FBI resulted in Twitter executives concluding that the content of the Hunter Biden laptop was misinformation.
Baker and his team signed a letter to the FBI agents who worked on the project to thank them for helping suppress the story.