FBI Helped Censor Americans For Ukrainian Intel Agency Full Of Russian Spies, House Report Concludes

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James Lynch Contributor
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The FBI worked with Ukraine’s intelligence agency to pressure social media platforms into censoring Americans, without regard for the agency’s infiltration by Russian informants, a new report by the House Judiciary concluded.

The FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) began working with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) to identify and censor posts on social media to combat alleged Russian disinformation beginning in March 2022, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine and months before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky purged the SBU of Russian collaborators, the House Judiciary report states. (RELATED: Even Twitter’s Censorship Chief Was ‘Perplexed’ By FBI Demands)

“The Committee’s investigation has revealed that the FBI, the federal law enforcement agency responsible for disrupting foreign malign influence, facilitated censorship requests to American social media companies on behalf of a Ukrainian intelligence agency infiltrated by Russian-aligned actors. In so doing, the FBI violated the First Amendment rights of Americans and potentially undermined our national security,” the report summarizes.

FBI Special Agent Aleksandr Kobzanets was the SBU’s conduit for social media censorship requests and he worked closely with Elvin Chan, the FBI agent who coordinated meetings between the FITF and social media companies ahead of the 2020 presidential election, the report asserts.

Kobzanets emailed Meta representatives on March 1 with two spreadsheets full of Instagram and Facebook accounts flagged by the SBU for alleged Russian disinformation. (RELATED: Facebook Suppressed Tucker Carlson Video That Did Not Violate Content Policy After White House Demanded It, Judge Says)

“I have a few more Instagram and [Facebook] accounts that according to the SBU spread Russian disinformation. For your review and action as deemed appropriate,” Kobzanets said to a Meta employee in an email publicized by the House Judiciary report.

One of his spreadsheets contained 15,865 pieces of content and the other had a registry of 5,165 Facebook accounts. The spreadsheets listed specific information about the content and provided URLs for Meta to act on. His spreadsheet listed the country of the social media accounts and active U.S. residents were included in Kobsanets’ censorship requests on behalf of Ukraine, the report shows.

The following day, Kobzanets sent Meta additional Instagram accounts the SBU sought to censor, including the official Russian language account of the U.S. State Department and an American journalist. Kobzanets sent the same Meta employee at least ten additional censorship requests in March 2022 with accounts highlighted by the SBU, the report states.

Social media posts in favor of the Ukrainian government in its war against Russia were among those the SBU flagged for the FBI to send to social media companies, leading the House Judiciary to conclude that the FBI did not properly vet the SBU’s requests.

“These examples show either that the FBI did not meaningfully vet the SBU’s lists or that the FBI endorsed the SBU’s censorship requests knowing full well that they contained American accounts,” the report reads.

The SBU was also flagging accounts to the FBI that were critical of leadership and challenged its power, the House Judiciary found.

In July 2022, Zelensky fired the head of the SBU and said 60 treason cases were being opened against law enforcement officers from the SBU and the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office. He revealed that 651 cases of treason were being opened against individuals in Ukrainian law enforcement, the New York Post reported.

Kobzanets sent similar censorship requests from the SBU to Google and YouTube for content to be removed from the video sharing platform, the report details. A senior employee from Google’s cybersecurity team told the committee that the Ukrainian government, other European governments, the European Union and European Commission were making censorship demands through the Department of Justice.

House Judiciary also cites internal Twitter documents from the “Twitter files” reports showing Kabzanets requested for the platform to censor American and Canadian journalists who were flagged by the SBU. The documents were first reported by far-left journalist Aaron Mate on Substack.

The House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government are continuing to investigate the FBI’s efforts to censor Americans on social media.

Meta and SBU did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The FBI declined to comment.