FBI Promised ‘No Impediments’ To Data Sharing With Twitter Before 2020 Election, Internal Docs Show

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The FBI promised that there were “no impediments to information sharing” between itself and Twitter in a Sept. 16, 2020 meeting with Twitter legal executive Stacia Cardille, according to internal documents published by journalist Matt Taibbi Friday.

Cardille reported the promise to then-Deputy General Counsel James Baker — a former FBI lawyer who was instrumental in securing approval for the surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page using information from the discredited Steele dossier — in an email sent following the meeting, according to Taibbi. Cardille also expressed dismay that Twitter’s Public Policy account tweeted about the meeting without first consulting the legal team.

The policy team’s tweets mention that the collaboration was working with the government to address the impact of COVID-19 on the election — something that Cardille does not mention in her email. Cardille tells Baker that the meetings are soon set to become weekly, but no further tweets from the policy team during that election cycle mention meeting with government agencies.

“The FBI regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities,” the FBI said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Private sector entities independently make decisions about what, if any, action they take on their platforms and for their customers after the FBI has notified them.”

The relationship between the FBI and Twitter appeared to remain in some capacity as recently as Nov. 10, 2022, when the agency reached out to notify Twitter of four accounts that “may potentially constitute violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service,” according to Taibbi. One of the accounts, @fromMA, which regularly posts anti-Republican and anti-Trump comments, was brought to Twitter’s attention for jokingly reminding Republicans to vote “Wednesday November 9,” while Election Day was actually Nov. 8, Taibbi reported.

Although the @fromMA account remains active, the tweet that caught the attention of the FBI appears to have been deleted. Taibbi noted that all four accounts, including @fromMA, were suspended.

The FBI forwarded the names of 25 accounts to Twitter on Nov. 6, 2022, with Twitter taking action against 17 of them, Taibbi reported. The Twitter account for the pro-Trump Right Side Broadcasting Network and actor Billy Baldwin were the only high-profile accounts on the list, and neither had actions taken against them.

Taibbi’s report comes after Twitter CEO Elon Musk temporarily suspended eight journalists from the platform, amid allegations that they were endangering the safety of him and his family for sharing his location on the platform. Several news outlets whose journalists were suspended disputed these allegations, with the Washington Post’s Executive Editor Sally Buzbee saying in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the suspensions undermined “Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech.” (RELATED: Here’s Every Journalist Musk Just Kicked Off Twitter)

Twitter did not immediately respond to a DCNF request for comment.

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