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Musk claims US government paid Twitter millions to censor info

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Dec 21, 2022 - 08:52 AM

DETROIT, Michigan (AA) – Twitter CEO Elon Musk claimed Tuesday on his social media platform that the US “Government paid Twitter millions of dollars to censor info from the public.”

Musk’s communication is a retweet of a lengthy thread from Michael Shellenberger, author of Apocalypse Never and San Fransicko, entitled, “THE TWITTER FILES” in which he lays out “an organized effort by representatives of the intelligence community (IC), aimed at senior executives at news and social media companies, to discredit leaked information about Hunter Biden before and after it was published.”

Shellenberger alleges in a thread composed of 47 separate tweets that the “payments” Musk described are compensation for legal processes requested from Twitter in its reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

The son of US President Joe Biden and his laptop have been the subject of controversy since an October 2020 New York Post story reported that emails discovered on the laptop revealed a meeting he had arranged for his father — then-candidate Biden — and an executive at Ukrainian energy company Burisma in April 2015.

The story, however, relied on non-credible sources such as former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon who had brought it to the paper and embattled former US President Donald Trump’s sidekick, Rudy Giuliani, who provided the laptop’s hard drive to the media outlet.

Shellenberger outlines the story from the owner of a Delaware computer repair shop who had taken the laptop to be fixed in December 2019 and reported finding controversial emails to authorities; to a subsequent subpoena from the FBI for the younger Biden to appear in federal court; to computer store owner, Mac Isaac, then contacting Giuliani, with the former New York City mayor handing the story to the newspaper.

Shellenberger details how over the course of the year, before the Hunter Biden news broke, that the FBI had interacted with Twitter and other social media platforms such as Facebook to be aware of possible “hack and leak” instances by Russian operatives — none of which surfaced.

The platforms were also under repeated requests for information, with officials, including FBI Special Agent Elvis Chan, arranging top secret security clearances for Twitter executives for information exchange.

Former FBI General Counsel and longtime government insider Jim Baker was an executive at Twitter at that time and was granted top-secret clearance. He was one of numerous former FBI staffers who had made the jump to the social media platform.

The FBI’s influence campaign over the course of 2020 and early 2021 helped to undermine the credibility of the Post’s story. Musk’s tweet capitalizes on two tweets with emails from Twitter enclosed that Shellenberger reveals in his thread wherein he said: “The FBI’s influence campaign may have been helped by the fact that it was paying twitter millions of dollars for its staff time.”

A redacted email is included in the tweet from an employee at Twitter involved in the Safety, Content, and Law Enforcement (SCALE) to Baker where they discuss having “instituted a reimbursement program for our legal process response from the FBI” regarding EDR requests — (Emergency Disclosure Requests) made by the intelligence agency.

“I am happy to report we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019!” said the email.

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