‘Belly Button’: FBI Reportedly Promised Twitter The Bureau Would Be ‘Conduit’ Between Tech Industry, Intel Agencies

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reportedly promised Twitter it would be “the belly button” for requests from intelligence agencies to the tech industry, newly released documents show.

“Will the industry partners rely on the FBI to be the belly button for the USG? We can do that as well,” FBI Agent Elvis Chan reportedly asked former Twitter Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth in an email, according to the latest “Twitter Files” installment reported by journalist Matt Taibbi.

Chan was reportedly asking Roth about monthly calls between intelligence agencies and the tech industry led by the FBI, Taibbi said. Chan was reportedly pushing for the State Department’s Global Engagement Center to be included in the weekly call, according to emails shared by Taibbi. (RELATED: Twitter Bowed To Dem Lawmaker Pressure, Buddied Up With Intel Agencies, Docs Show)

Twitter reportedly pushed back against including the GEC in the meetings because it was “political” unlike the “apolitical” intelligence agencies. Roth expressed concerns about the GEC being “press happy” and said it would be a “major risk” to bring it into the weekly call, Taibbi reported.

Chan proposed a compromise to Twitter and Facebook where the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would serve as “conduits in and out from the USG,” Taibbi continued.

Chan reportedly told Roth, “State/GEC, NSA, and CIA have expressed interest in being allowed on in listen mode only,” on a “one-way” channel with the FBI, DHS, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Taibbi’s thread showed.

Roth and Chan reportedly ended up agreeing to an industry call on Signal, an encrypted text messaging app, Taibbi added. Twitter reportedly frequently received requests from the FBI, DHS and other intelligence agencies, Taibbi found. The Treasury Department, Health and Human Services, National Security Agency and the State Department were reportedly among the government agencies sending requests to Twitter, according to Taibbi.