Twitter Files Exposes Former FBI Agent's Dirty Trick That Spawned 'Russian Bot' Narrative


So by now almost all of us are familiar with the notorious “Twitter Files.”

But for those who still aren’t, essentially, after Elon Musk took over the company last October, information has been trickling out about the inner workings of Twitter. These information drops have revealed how the former administration of Twitter often acted in conjunction with the federal government against conservatives

On Friday, journalist Matt Taibbi once again released another round of the “Twitter Files,” this time revealing the dirty trick that a former FBI agent used to label certain accounts as “Russian bots.”

During the Trump presidency, the media went into hysterics about how Trump had colluded with the Russian government, and how Twitter was supposedly swarmed with “Russian bot” accounts that were spreading “misinformation” to the American public.

But now, Taibbi has released emails from Twitter that discuss the whole narrative and reveal how it came to be in the first place.

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Essentially, Clint Watts, a former FBI Agent, had created a digital “dashboard” called Hamilton 68, which claimed to track and expose Russian disinformation on the internet.

The project was funded by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a neoliberal think tank whose board included staunch opponents of Donald Trump such as journalist Bill Kristol and former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton John Podesta.

Should Watts and his organization be investigated?

Hamilton 68 claimed that it had compiled a secret list of 600 accounts that were linked to Russian influence, and the dashboard was used as the main source in the hundreds of media reports about Russian “disinformation” online.

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Yoel Roth, who was then an executive at Twitter, was confused about the way Hamilton 68 came to these conclusions, and decided to investigate it for himself. What he found was shocking: there was no evidence that any of these accounts were linked to Russian influence.

These were neither Russian nor bots. Rather, they were ordinary Americans who were labeled as “Russian bots” because they expressed opinions that disagreed with the board of the Alliance for Securing Democracy.

As Roth pointed out, these were “legitimate right-leaning accounts”, not foreign agents spreading misinformation.

He also wrote, “I think we need to just call this out on the bulls*** it is.”

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What makes this problematic is that Watts is a former FBI agent, he should know how to do proper intelligence work. He should be able to distinguish between good intel and bad intel.

Either he is an idiot and this episode exposes the incompetence of the FBI, or he knew exactly what he was doing, and he was using his position to smear his political opponents. Either way, it’s disturbing.

With each new drop of the “Twitter Files,” Americans are reminded time and time again of how corrupt the previous Twitter administration was. Despite the fact that they conducted a proper investigation and determined that the information was faulty, they didn’t say anything about it publicly. Instead, they stayed silent.

Big Tech worked hand-in-hand with the left over the last few years to delegitimize and silence conservatives, even when they knew that the left was lying.

It is high time that an official investigation into the activities of Big Tech be launched, to bring accountability to the individuals who’ve willingly spread false information to deliberately harm and squelch Americans they disagree with.

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Peter Partoll is a commentary writer for the Western Journal and a Research Assistant for the Catholic Herald. He earned his bachelor's degree at Hillsdale College and recently finished up his masters degree at Royal Holloway University of London. You can follow him on Twitter at @p_partoll.