Notes on the Twitter Files (14)

Yesterday afternoon Matt Taibbi posted a 40-part thread that stands as the fourteenth installment of the Twitter Files. It can be accessed via the first tweet in the thread below. The thread is unrolled here on the Thread Reader app. Taibbi comments on the thread in the related post at his TK News site on Substack in “America Needs Truth and Reconciliation on Russiagate.”

The thread addresses a story that dates to 2018. This is how Taibbi summarizes it in the post at his Substack site:

Remember this one? Russian bots and trolls were blamed by virtually every major news organization in the country for amplifying the hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo. The files contain a mass of emails from executives blowing up this ridiculous story, once and for all.

The #ReleaseTheMemo scandal was one of the more shameful episodes in the recent history of our media, but taken seriously by all but one or two mainstream editors at the time. All citing the same dubious source — the Hamilton 68 “dashboard” trumpeted by former FBI counterintelligence official and current MSNBC contributor Clint Watts — they insisted Russians deployed Twitter bot-armies to whip up cyber-support for Republican congressmann Devin Nunes. Nunes had just released a classified memo alleging Democrats and the FBI used the infamous paid oppositional research dossier of ex-spy Christopher Steele to obtain secret FISA surveillance authority on Trump-connected figures like Carter Page, amid other improprieties.

We now know Twitter internally found no evidence, as in zero, that Russians were anywhere near this story.

Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blumenthal plugged the fictitious Russian bots to attack and defame Nunes in connection with the Nunes memo. Rep. Adam Schiff was the leader of the gang along with Feinstein.

The Nunes memo undermined the Russia hoax with unerring accuracy. It pointed the finger of scandal in the direction of the FBI, also with unerring accuracy. Nunes therefore needed to be portrayed as a tool of Russia.

Taibbi documents Twitter’s finding that the “Russian bot” defamation of Nunes was baseless. Twitter warned the Democrat liars off the charge. Internally, Twitter mocked them while otherwise playing along for public purposes. The media, of course, dutifully echoed the Russia! Russia! Russia! line of attack on Nunes and his memo.

In their campaign to defame Nunes, they relied on the “work” of former FBI counterintelligence official Clint Watts who was seeded at an organization called the Alliance For Securing Democracy. The “democracy” angle of ASD gives this thread a timely note.

Note the mockery of the Democrat hacks pushing the Russian bot line inside Twitter.

For public purposes Twitter nevertheless kept its mouth shut as the media touted the fictitious Russian bots. In good journalistic style, Taibbi sought comment from the players who should be disgraced by his reporting. If there is anything that can add to the disgust a decent person would already feel, this is it.

As always, I urge interested readers to take in the whole thing with your own eyes.

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.