The House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government will hold what could be an explosive hearing on Thursday at 10 am Eastern Time in the Rayburn House Office Building, with witnesses linking government censorship efforts back to the Obama White House.
The hearing takes place one year after the first Twitter Files report that showed how Twitter censored conservative Americans up until Elon Musk bought a majority stake in the company, now called X. The committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan, will examine the federal government’s involvement in social media censorship, as well as recent attacks on independent journalism and free expression.
Witnesses include Matt Taibbi, Twitter Files independent journalist and author; Michael Shellenberger, Twitter Files independent journalist, author, and environmentalist; and Rupa Subramanya, Canada-based journalist for The Free Press.
The hearing can be watched live on YouTube at this link:
So far, at least six releases from the Twitter Files show how Twitter censorship worked for Democrats under the old management of Jack Dorsey, former Twitter CEO:
- Twitter Files Part 1 shows how under the old management of Twitter, content moderation employees made decisions about allegations involving Hunter Biden’s laptop, prior to the 2020 presidential election, swaying the public and likely manipulating the election.
- Twitter Files Part 2 demonstrates that Twitter used tools to lower the visibility of some accounts that liberals disagreed with.
- Twitter Files Part 3 revolves around Twitter’s decision to remove President Donald Trump from the platform after the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol.
- Twitter Files Part 4 includes more about Twitter’s banishment of a sitting president, Trump.
- Twitter Files Part 5 contains more details on how Twitter decided to ban Trump.
In advance of the hearing on Thursday, Shellenberger has revealed that he has another damning trove of information on X/Twitter, that is even bigger than the Twitter Files.
“Many people insist that governments aren’t involved in censorship, but they are,” Shellenberger wrote on X/Twitter. “And now, a whistleblower has come forward with an explosive new trove of documents, rivaling or exceeding the Twitter Files and Facebook Files in scale and importance.”
The whistleblower explained there is an “anti-disinformation” group called the Cyber Threat Intelligence League, or CTIL, started by data scientists and defense and intelligence veterans whose tactics over time “appear to have been absorbed into multiple official projects, including those of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”
The CTIL documents, Shellenberger said, “offer the missing link answers to key questions not addressed in the Twitter Files and Facebook Files. Combined, they offer a comprehensive picture of the birth of the ‘anti-disinformation’ sector, or what we have called the Censorship Industrial Complex,” that is traced back to the Obama White House, when the whistleblower says she received instructions to create a counter-disinformation project to stop “a repeat of 2016.”
The Shellenberger story on this new trove of documents is found on his Substack website, “Public.”
In his report, he alleges that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) has been at the center for much of the censorship, “with the National Science Foundation financing the development of censorship and disinformation tools and other federal government agencies playing a supportive role.” He also fingers the Election Integrity Partnership, which in 2020 involved the Stanford Internet Observatory and other U.S. government contractors. EIP and its successor, the Virality Project, urged Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to censor social media posts by ordinary citizens and elected officials alike.
Shellenberger testified before this special committee in on March 30, but at the time, there was an entire year’s worth of information that was still missing.
Now, a large trove of new documents, including strategy documents, training videos, presentations, and internal messages, reveal that, “in 2019, US and UK military and intelligence contractors led by a former UK defense researcher, Sara-Jayne ‘SJ’ Terp, developed the sweeping censorship framework. These contractors co-led CTIL, which partnered with CISA in the spring of 2020,” Shellenberger wrote.
“In truth, the building of the Censorship Industrial Complex began even earlier — in 2018,” he wrote.
“I look forward to providing testimony to Congress, this Thursday, about the Censorship Industrial Complex’s clear and present threat to the United States of America and other liberal democratic Western democracies, and how we can shut it down,” Shellenberger wrote on X/Twitter on Tuesday, as he prepared his testimony for the nation to hear.