George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley comments on the drivel released by the FBI last week in response to the Twitter Files:
It is not clear what is more chilling — the menacing role played by the FBI in Twitter’s censorship program, or its mendacious response to the disclosure of that role. The FBI has issued a series of “nothing-to-see-here” statements regarding the Twitter Files.
In its latest statement, the FBI insists it did not command Twitter to take any specific action when flagging accounts to be censored. Of course, it didn’t have to threaten the company — because we now have an effective state media by consent rather than coercion. Moreover, an FBI warning tends to concentrate the minds of most people without the need for a specific threat.
Finally, the files show that the FBI paid Twitter millions as part of this censorship system — a windfall favorably reported to Baker before he was fired from Twitter by Musk.
Responding to the disclosures and criticism, an FBI spokesperson declared: “The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”
Arguably, “working every day to protect the American public” need not include censoring the public to protect it from errant or misleading ideas….
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After Watergate, there was bipartisan support for reforming the FBI and intelligence agencies. Today, that cacophony of voices has been replaced by crickets, as much of the media imposes another effective blackout on coverage of the Twitter Files. This media silence suggests that the FBI found the “sweet spot” on censorship, supporting the views of the political and media establishment.
As for the rest of us, the FBI now declares us to be part of a disinformation danger which it is committed to stamping out — “conspiracy theorists” misleading the public simply by criticizing the bureau.
Professor Turley’s Hill column is “When the FBI attacks its critics as ‘conspiracy theorists,’ it’s time to reform the bureau.” I should like to think that “reform” is in this case a euphemism for something more severe. In any event, he reiterated and elaborated on his column in this FOX News interview (the accompanying transcript is slightly off).
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