We’ve been reporting on the troubling close relationship that the FBI has had with Twitter. The Twitter files have revealed the continual effort to censor people on the site as well as to act as a conduit for requests to censor from other governmental agencies — including the intelligence community.
Now PayPal co-founder and general partner of Craft Ventures, David Sacks, who has been close to Elon Musk, is highlighting one of the most concerning aspects of that FBI contacts to Benny Johnson on his show. Sacks explained how the FBI was delivering secret instructions to Twitter via a special tool called “teleport” so that what they sent would disappear after ten days. According to Sacks, such instructions could not be screenshot.
.@DavidSacks explains how the FBI was using a tool called “ teleport” to communicate with Twitter. They were able to send instructions that deleted after 10 days and they weren’t able to take a screenshot of the communication. pic.twitter.com/di2KA6fdqa
— The Dirty Truth (Josh) (@AKA_RealDirty) January 15, 2023
But they could tell that some messages were sent via the teleport tool when they were looking at the emails and the FBI would tell Twitter Safety head Yoel Roth to look at the messages they just sent him on teleport. “It was a very weird detail,” Sacks said, “And it shows the way our government prefers to operate, which is in secrecy.” “What basis is there for the FBI first of all even to be engaged in censorship on social media to the extent they were,” Sacks said, noting they had an 80-agent team flagging posts for the FBI and other parts of the government. They were the “belly button,” the centralized conduit for the surveillance by the federal government of social media posts on a large scale, Sacks said.
“What was the crime that they were investigating here,” Sacks declared. This was all coming under the heading of searching for “foreign interference” in elections, a truly nebulous justification. Add to that the instructions were secret, disappearing, Sacks said, “Why isn’t that a matter of public record?” He said first of all, it was a violation of the First Amendment if they were pushing censorship, but on top of that, they weren’t even being transparent about it. “We have a right as citizens of this country to know what our government is doing, and for them to be engaging in this sort of um, you know, magic trick, where the instructions they are giving are disappearing, it’s almost like the cover-up part of this crime.”
Elon Musk highlighted this discussion, noting that it was “concerning” that the FBI did this.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 16, 2023
What that means is that it’s harder to find the evidence of secret instructions that they were giving to Twitter if you were trying to figure out what they were doing. It also raises questions about why they’re erasing the evidence unless they knew that what they were doing was problematic. Yet, we still haven’t gotten any real answers from the FBI on this, just a response that claimed that this was “traditional” contacts they’d had with private companies (that alone is chilling if this is “traditional”) and they called the Twitter files “conspiracy theorists.
“The correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding, and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries. As evidenced in the correspondence the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers,” the FBI released in a statement Wednesday. “The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public,” the statement concluded. “It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”
But notice, no denial or greater explanation.