Is NewsGuard Government-Funded? You Decide 

Is NewsGuard Government-Funded? You Decide 

The media-ratings giant NewsGuard denied it was “government-funded” after being called out as part of the vast Censorship Complex during congressional hearings last week. But government records and the company’s own public announcement celebrating a nearly $750,000 federal grant suggest otherwise. 

On Thursday, independent journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger appeared before the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government to testify about what they had discovered during a review of internal Twitter communications. An hour before the weird hearing began, Taibbi released the latest installment of the “Twitter Files.”

Halfway through his thread, titled “The Censorship-Industrial Complex,” Taibbi wrote: “Some NGOs, like the GEC-funded Global Disinformation Index or the DOD-funded NewsGuard, not only see content moderation but apply subjective ‘risk’ or ‘reliability’ scores to media outlets, which can result in a reduction in revenue.” Embedded in the post was a picture of a nearly $750,000 award from the Department of Defense to NewsGuard, an organization the independent journalists characterized as a “government-funded” entity implicated in the Censorship Complex.

In response to Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s question — “Who is NewsGuard?” — Shellenberger explained: “Both the Global Disinformation Index and NewsGuard are U.S. government-funded entities who are working to drive advertisers’ revenue away from disfavored publications and towards the ones they favor.” In Shellenberger’s words, “This is totally inappropriate.”

“If we do not take a look at NewsGuard,” Gaetz responded, “we have failed.”

NewGuard’s Co-CEO Gordon Crovitz emailed Taibbi the next morning to say, “There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about NewsGuard and our work.”

“During the hearing, NewsGuard was inaccurately described as ‘U.S. government funded,’” Crovitz continued, adding, “unlike other entities mentioned during the hearing, we are not a non-profit funded by government grants. We are a business with many licensees paying to access our proprietary data, including government entities that pay to license our data.”

“These licenses are only for access to our data and are entirely unrelated to our rating of news publishers,” the email added.

Crovitz then claimed NewsGuard’s work for the Pentagon is targeted at analyzing anti-American info ops from adversaries such as China and Russia. “Our analysts alert officials in the U.S. and in other democracies, including Ukraine, about new false narratives targeting America and its allies, and we provide an understanding of how this disinformation spreads online,” NewsGuard’s CEO proclaimed.

NewsGuard “operates in an entirely different manner” from the Global Disinformation Index, the CEO told Taibbi, working to separate his organization from others in the Censorship Complex. Crovitz, claiming to be skeptical of Silicon Valley “advocacy groups” himself and stressing his “longtime” work as “an editorial writer and conservative columnist for the Wall Street Journal,” ended with an offer to answer Taibbi’s questions and this rejoinder: 

So we are not ‘funded’ by the U.S. government, like you we oppose government censorship, and our ratings of news sources are done in a fully transparent and apolitical manner.

When it comes to transparency, NewsGuard definitely surpasses the Global Disinformation Index, but its history of rating news outlets seems hardly apolitical.

While federal grants did not fund the for-profit NewsGuard’s “Nutritional Label” rating system, the use of private ratings to squelch speech proves problematic, especially when the corporate media giants it promotes as “generally reliable” botched some of the most significant stories of the day, including the Russia-collusion hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop story, many Covid-related stories, and more. In contrast, NewsGuard graded The Federalist, which accurately reported all of those stories, as one of the most unreliable outlets.

The Funding Question

So what about NewsGuard’s claim that it is not funded by the government? NewsGuard’s email to Taibbi suggested the $750,000 payment from the Department of Defense was a “licensing fee.” But in its 2021 “Social Impact Report,” NewsGuard called the award a “grant” from the Small Business Innovation and Research program.

When asked whether the “$749,387 was a grant or a licensing contract,” Crovitz told The Federalist, “The contract you’re referring to was an agreement for us to license our Misinformation Fingerprints product we were building out and provide this product to the DoD under a license agreement so that DoD could acquire the rights to use our work, including to research how our work could best be used.”

When The Federalist highlighted NewsGuard’s 2021 Social Impact Report that clearly stated the award was a grant to develop the program and asked whether the company’s report was inaccurate, Crovitz replied: 

When the DoD does research they frequently use the term ‘grant’ or ‘research and development grant.’ So, that is why we announced it that way. It is what they call it. But it was clearly a license to use our data to see (‘research and development’) how our data enhanced their ability to track false narratives.

NewsGuard’s CEO provided The Federalist a copy of a licensing agreement it entered with the government, confirming the organization had given the government a “license to use the NewsGuard Data … for the purposes of tracking and monitoring disinformation and misinformation campaigns.” 

In turn, the licensing agreement defined “NewsGuard Data” as the company’s “compilation and updates of its lists of website credibility ratings,” and “data to help customers identify and track misinformation and disinformation narratives.” Missing from the agreement, however, was any specified licensing fee, with the agreement merely stating it was to be negotiated based on “use cases.”

Under these circumstances, and even though NewsGuard had previously called the nearly $750,000 award a “grant,” Crovitz maintained that “news accounts have falsely referred to NewsGuard as ‘government funded.’”

“Calling us government-funded for licensing our Misinformation Fingerprint product is like calling Verizon ‘government funded’ because the government pays to access its communications services,” Crovitz analogized.

NewsGuard’s co-CEO, Steven Brill, offered another comparison, suggesting calling NewsGuard “government-funded,” would be like calling The Federalist “solar-industry funded” because ads for solar power companies appear on the website. “It’s technically true, I guess, but is hardly an adjective that gives a clear picture of the website,” Brill said. 

But are either of those examples really analogous to NewsGuard’s relationship with the government? 

Research shows NewsGuard’s relationship with the government began earlier: In 2020, it won the “Pentagon-State Department contest for detecting COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation.” In a press release, NewsGuard explained it would “help” the DOD and State Department by identifying those spreading so-called Covid disinformation, speculate about the motives behind it, and then “flag” misinformation and “hoaxes.”

NewsGuard further explained its contest entry relied on “a human intelligence solution” to disinformation and had “two key components.” First, it relied on its own “journalist-produced ratings” and “Nutrition Labels” that scored news websites for supposed reliability. Second, it used its database of “Misinformation Fingerprints,” a Rolodex of so-called “hoaxes, falsehoods and misinformation narratives.” From there, NewsGuard used “AI and social listening tools to identify the initial source of the hoax,” and to find instances of the hoax being “repeated or amplified” online.

For this award-winning project, NewsGuard received $25,000 to conduct a pilot study, while “working with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center to scope and develop a test in support of the DoD’s Cyber National Mission Force,” the August 2020 press release said.

A link to the government’s announcement of the contest suggests the $25,000 award was in-kind, though, not cash, with the prize specifying the “State Department’s Global Engagement Center will sponsor your capability’s test and assessment on their Technology Engagement Team’s Testbed, hosted by Disinfo Cloud — worth $25,000.” 

The Disinfo Cloud Casts a Big Shadow

“Disinfo Cloud” should sound familiar. That organization was funded by the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, which awarded another non-governmental entity, Park Advisers, approximately $300,000 to manage Disinfo Cloud. Park Advisers describes Disinfo Cloud as a tool to help the federal government “and its partners,” such as academia and other governments, resist “foreign propaganda and disinformation,” although the link at Park Advisers’ webpage to Disinfo Cloud no longer works.

Likewise, the multi-agency Global Engagement Center used Disinfo Cloud to funnel government dollars to the Global Disinformation Index in another contest, the U.S.-Paris Tech Challenge, which it co-sponsored with the heavily government-funded Atlantic Council. According to a State Department spokesman, the Global Disinformation Index received a $100,000 award from the U.S.-Paris Tech Challenge, although the Global Engagement Center used Park Advisers as a conduit for the award.

The U.S.-Paris Tech Challenge prize represents the most direct U.S. government funding of that nonprofit, although other recipients of government grants reportedly also funneled money to the Global Disinformation Index. 

Back to NewsGuard’s Prize

NewsGuard would later report that the $25,000 prize from 2020 supported a pilot program that allowed the Pentagon’s Cyber Command “to monitor content containing state-sponsored mis- and disinformation” and identify the primary purveyors of it. But the piloting of NewsGuard’s program was only one part of the Pentagon-State Department’s prize package. 

According to the contest details, the winner would also score a spot to “present at a (virtual) showcase event for Department of Defense information operations professionals and technology scouts,” and gain access to a “Government Contracting 101 session” and a “Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) crash course.”

And sure enough, next came the NewsGuard announcement referenced above that in September of 2021, it “was awarded a grant through the Small Business Innovation and Research program.” That grant announcement explained that the SBIR program “funds early-stage companies to develop products and technologies that can be helpful for government” (emphasis added). 

“Under the grant,” NewsGuard explained in its Social Impact Statement, it “plans to further develop the Misinformation Fingerprints tool and test the effectiveness of the Fingerprints in detecting state-sponsored disinformation campaigns.” 

The SBIR webpage shows the 2021 grant NewsGuard received totaled $749,387.00 and involved the Department of Defense. In addition to the dollar amount of the grant, the contract number coincides with the award number posted in a search of government contracts under the Department of Defense, a screenshot of which Taibbi posted in his Twitter thread.  

That nearly $750,000 grant followed the Global Engagement Center’s initial $25,000 prize to NewsGuard, as well as the training sessions the government promised winners so they could learn the ropes of seeking support from SBIR and be primed to obtain federal contracts. 

Draw Your Own Conclusions

From these details, you can form your own conclusion as to whether Taibbi and Shellenberger accurately described NewsGuard as “government-funded.” But I’m inclined to think a Federalist Nutritional Rating would take a hit if it called money paid from the government to a Trump-run business a “licensing fee,” if that business had previously announced the funds were a “grant.”

As for why NewsGuard cares so much about the modifier, Crovitz told The Federalist the organization is “sensitive to the distinction because of other reporting that treated our government contract to license our Misinformation Fingerprints product the same as the broad grant that another entity got, apparently to develop its ratings.”

“In the case of the other entity, GDI, it seems clear they applied for grants unrelated to any specific sale of a product but rather to help fund what they see as their good works policing news,” Crovitz stressed. 

Crovitz and Brill — both of whom were extremely responsive to questions — also repeatedly stressed the government award was unrelated to their work rating media companies. “In a nutshell, this work had nothing to do with the government wanting us to rate websites or give us a ‘grant’ to rate websites,” Brill wrote.

Whether the government awarded NewsGuard a grant (or a contract) to rate websites does not extricate the company from the Censorship Complex scandal, however. NewsGuard licensed to the Department of Defense its “compilation and updates of its lists of website credibility ratings,” as well as other data, to help the government identify and track so-called misinformation and disinformation narratives. And NewsGuard received nearly $750,000 from the federal government.

While NewsGuard stresses that the “Misinformation Fingerprints” are intended to monitor “clearly false narratives” such as “hostile information operations by Russia and China,” the “Twitter Files” show that the federal government sees things very differently and has no qualms about silencing ordinary Americans speaking the truth.

As a result, many Americans see things differently now too, and no longer view organizations profiting from the disinformation business as the good guys — especially when the money comes from their tax dollars.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

Source

Is NewsGuard Government-Funded? You Decide 

Is NewsGuard Government-Funded? You Decide 

The media-ratings giant NewsGuard denied it was “government-funded” after being called out as part of the vast Censorship Complex during congressional hearings last week. But government records and the company’s own public announcement celebrating a nearly $750,000 federal grant suggest otherwise. 

On Thursday, independent journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger appeared before the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government to testify about what they had discovered during a review of internal Twitter communications. An hour before the weird hearing began, Taibbi released the latest installment of the “Twitter Files.”

Halfway through his thread, titled “The Censorship-Industrial Complex,” Taibbi wrote: “Some NGOs, like the GEC-funded Global Disinformation Index or the DOD-funded NewsGuard, not only see content moderation but apply subjective ‘risk’ or ‘reliability’ scores to media outlets, which can result in a reduction in revenue.” Embedded in the post was a picture of a nearly $750,000 award from the Department of Defense to NewsGuard, an organization the independent journalists characterized as a “government-funded” entity implicated in the Censorship Complex.

In response to Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s question — “Who is NewsGuard?” — Shellenberger explained: “Both the Global Disinformation Index and NewsGuard are U.S. government-funded entities who are working to drive advertisers’ revenue away from disfavored publications and towards the ones they favor.” In Shellenberger’s words, “This is totally inappropriate.”

“If we do not take a look at NewsGuard,” Gaetz responded, “we have failed.”

NewGuard’s Co-CEO Gordon Crovitz emailed Taibbi the next morning to say, “There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about NewsGuard and our work.”

“During the hearing, NewsGuard was inaccurately described as ‘U.S. government funded,’” Crovitz continued, adding, “unlike other entities mentioned during the hearing, we are not a non-profit funded by government grants. We are a business with many licensees paying to access our proprietary data, including government entities that pay to license our data.”

“These licenses are only for access to our data and are entirely unrelated to our rating of news publishers,” the email added.

Crovitz then claimed NewsGuard’s work for the Pentagon is targeted at analyzing anti-American info ops from adversaries such as China and Russia. “Our analysts alert officials in the U.S. and in other democracies, including Ukraine, about new false narratives targeting America and its allies, and we provide an understanding of how this disinformation spreads online,” NewsGuard’s CEO proclaimed.

NewsGuard “operates in an entirely different manner” from the Global Disinformation Index, the CEO told Taibbi, working to separate his organization from others in the Censorship Complex. Crovitz, claiming to be skeptical of Silicon Valley “advocacy groups” himself and stressing his “longtime” work as “an editorial writer and conservative columnist for the Wall Street Journal,” ended with an offer to answer Taibbi’s questions and this rejoinder: 

So we are not ‘funded’ by the U.S. government, like you we oppose government censorship, and our ratings of news sources are done in a fully transparent and apolitical manner.

When it comes to transparency, NewsGuard definitely surpasses the Global Disinformation Index, but its history of rating news outlets seems hardly apolitical.

While federal grants did not fund the for-profit NewsGuard’s “Nutritional Label” rating system, the use of private ratings to squelch speech proves problematic, especially when the corporate media giants it promotes as “generally reliable” botched some of the most significant stories of the day, including the Russia-collusion hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop story, many Covid-related stories, and more. In contrast, NewsGuard graded The Federalist, which accurately reported all of those stories, as one of the most unreliable outlets.

The Funding Question

So what about NewsGuard’s claim that it is not funded by the government? NewsGuard’s email to Taibbi suggested the $750,000 payment from the Department of Defense was a “licensing fee.” But in its 2021 “Social Impact Report,” NewsGuard called the award a “grant” from the Small Business Innovation and Research program.

When asked whether the “$749,387 was a grant or a licensing contract,” Crovitz told The Federalist, “The contract you’re referring to was an agreement for us to license our Misinformation Fingerprints product we were building out and provide this product to the DoD under a license agreement so that DoD could acquire the rights to use our work, including to research how our work could best be used.”

When The Federalist highlighted NewsGuard’s 2021 Social Impact Report that clearly stated the award was a grant to develop the program and asked whether the company’s report was inaccurate, Crovitz replied: 

When the DoD does research they frequently use the term ‘grant’ or ‘research and development grant.’ So, that is why we announced it that way. It is what they call it. But it was clearly a license to use our data to see (‘research and development’) how our data enhanced their ability to track false narratives.

NewsGuard’s CEO provided The Federalist a copy of a licensing agreement it entered with the government, confirming the organization had given the government a “license to use the NewsGuard Data … for the purposes of tracking and monitoring disinformation and misinformation campaigns.” 

In turn, the licensing agreement defined “NewsGuard Data” as the company’s “compilation and updates of its lists of website credibility ratings,” and “data to help customers identify and track misinformation and disinformation narratives.” Missing from the agreement, however, was any specified licensing fee, with the agreement merely stating it was to be negotiated based on “use cases.”

Under these circumstances, and even though NewsGuard had previously called the nearly $750,000 award a “grant,” Crovitz maintained that “news accounts have falsely referred to NewsGuard as ‘government funded.’”

“Calling us government-funded for licensing our Misinformation Fingerprint product is like calling Verizon ‘government funded’ because the government pays to access its communications services,” Crovitz analogized.

NewsGuard’s co-CEO, Steven Brill, offered another comparison, suggesting calling NewsGuard “government-funded,” would be like calling The Federalist “solar-industry funded” because ads for solar power companies appear on the website. “It’s technically true, I guess, but is hardly an adjective that gives a clear picture of the website,” Brill said. 

But are either of those examples really analogous to NewsGuard’s relationship with the government? 

Research shows NewsGuard’s relationship with the government began earlier: In 2020, it won the “Pentagon-State Department contest for detecting COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation.” In a press release, NewsGuard explained it would “help” the DOD and State Department by identifying those spreading so-called Covid disinformation, speculate about the motives behind it, and then “flag” misinformation and “hoaxes.”

NewsGuard further explained its contest entry relied on “a human intelligence solution” to disinformation and had “two key components.” First, it relied on its own “journalist-produced ratings” and “Nutrition Labels” that scored news websites for supposed reliability. Second, it used its database of “Misinformation Fingerprints,” a Rolodex of so-called “hoaxes, falsehoods and misinformation narratives.” From there, NewsGuard used “AI and social listening tools to identify the initial source of the hoax,” and to find instances of the hoax being “repeated or amplified” online.

For this award-winning project, NewsGuard received $25,000 to conduct a pilot study, while “working with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center to scope and develop a test in support of the DoD’s Cyber National Mission Force,” the August 2020 press release said.

A link to the government’s announcement of the contest suggests the $25,000 award was in-kind, though, not cash, with the prize specifying the “State Department’s Global Engagement Center will sponsor your capability’s test and assessment on their Technology Engagement Team’s Testbed, hosted by Disinfo Cloud — worth $25,000.” 

The Disinfo Cloud Casts a Big Shadow

“Disinfo Cloud” should sound familiar. That organization was funded by the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, which awarded another non-governmental entity, Park Advisers, approximately $300,000 to manage Disinfo Cloud. Park Advisers describes Disinfo Cloud as a tool to help the federal government “and its partners,” such as academia and other governments, resist “foreign propaganda and disinformation,” although the link at Park Advisers’ webpage to Disinfo Cloud no longer works.

Likewise, the multi-agency Global Engagement Center used Disinfo Cloud to funnel government dollars to the Global Disinformation Index in another contest, the U.S.-Paris Tech Challenge, which it co-sponsored with the heavily government-funded Atlantic Council. According to a State Department spokesman, the Global Disinformation Index received a $100,000 award from the U.S.-Paris Tech Challenge, although the Global Engagement Center used Park Advisers as a conduit for the award.

The U.S.-Paris Tech Challenge prize represents the most direct U.S. government funding of that nonprofit, although other recipients of government grants reportedly also funneled money to the Global Disinformation Index. 

Back to NewsGuard’s Prize

NewsGuard would later report that the $25,000 prize from 2020 supported a pilot program that allowed the Pentagon’s Cyber Command “to monitor content containing state-sponsored mis- and disinformation” and identify the primary purveyors of it. But the piloting of NewsGuard’s program was only one part of the Pentagon-State Department’s prize package. 

According to the contest details, the winner would also score a spot to “present at a (virtual) showcase event for Department of Defense information operations professionals and technology scouts,” and gain access to a “Government Contracting 101 session” and a “Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) crash course.”

And sure enough, next came the NewsGuard announcement referenced above that in September of 2021, it “was awarded a grant through the Small Business Innovation and Research program.” That grant announcement explained that the SBIR program “funds early-stage companies to develop products and technologies that can be helpful for government” (emphasis added). 

“Under the grant,” NewsGuard explained in its Social Impact Statement, it “plans to further develop the Misinformation Fingerprints tool and test the effectiveness of the Fingerprints in detecting state-sponsored disinformation campaigns.” 

The SBIR webpage shows the 2021 grant NewsGuard received totaled $749,387.00 and involved the Department of Defense. In addition to the dollar amount of the grant, the contract number coincides with the award number posted in a search of government contracts under the Department of Defense, a screenshot of which Taibbi posted in his Twitter thread.  

That nearly $750,000 grant followed the Global Engagement Center’s initial $25,000 prize to NewsGuard, as well as the training sessions the government promised winners so they could learn the ropes of seeking support from SBIR and be primed to obtain federal contracts. 

Draw Your Own Conclusions

From these details, you can form your own conclusion as to whether Taibbi and Shellenberger accurately described NewsGuard as “government-funded.” But I’m inclined to think a Federalist Nutritional Rating would take a hit if it called money paid from the government to a Trump-run business a “licensing fee,” if that business had previously announced the funds were a “grant.”

As for why NewsGuard cares so much about the modifier, Crovitz told The Federalist the organization is “sensitive to the distinction because of other reporting that treated our government contract to license our Misinformation Fingerprints product the same as the broad grant that another entity got, apparently to develop its ratings.”

“In the case of the other entity, GDI, it seems clear they applied for grants unrelated to any specific sale of a product but rather to help fund what they see as their good works policing news,” Crovitz stressed. 

Crovitz and Brill — both of whom were extremely responsive to questions — also repeatedly stressed the government award was unrelated to their work rating media companies. “In a nutshell, this work had nothing to do with the government wanting us to rate websites or give us a ‘grant’ to rate websites,” Brill wrote.

Whether the government awarded NewsGuard a grant (or a contract) to rate websites does not extricate the company from the Censorship Complex scandal, however. NewsGuard licensed to the Department of Defense its “compilation and updates of its lists of website credibility ratings,” as well as other data, to help the government identify and track so-called misinformation and disinformation narratives. And NewsGuard received nearly $750,000 from the federal government.

While NewsGuard stresses that the “Misinformation Fingerprints” are intended to monitor “clearly false narratives” such as “hostile information operations by Russia and China,” the “Twitter Files” show that the federal government sees things very differently and has no qualms about silencing ordinary Americans speaking the truth.

As a result, many Americans see things differently now too, and no longer view organizations profiting from the disinformation business as the good guys — especially when the money comes from their tax dollars.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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Former Twitter Execs Squirm — They Could Be Arrested For Election Interference [Video]



Former Twitter Execs Squirm — They Could Be Arrested For Election Interference

Steve Watson

Summit News

Former Twitter executives looked at times uncomfortable, but betrayed their staunch anti-free speech biases during a House Oversight Committee heading on Wednesday.

The hearing was called to investigate the role government played, specifically the FBI, with regards to censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop report by the New York Post.

Former Twitter Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, Former Deputy General Counsel James Baker, and Former Global Head of Trust & Safety Yoel Roth were grilled by Representatives, with Congressman Clay Higgins telling them they could be arrested for interfering with the 2020 presidential election.

“The bottom line is that the FBI had the Biden Crime Family laptop for a year. They knew it was leaking. They knew it would hurt the Biden family. So the FBI used its relationship with Twitter to suppress criminal evidence from being revealed about Joe Biden one month before the 2020 election,” Higgins asserted.

“You, ladies and gentlemen interfered with the United States of America 2020 presidential election! Knowingly and willingly!” he continued, adding “That’s the bad news! It’s gonna get worse! Because this is the investigation part! Later comes the arrest part, your attorneys are familiar with that.”

“I’d like to spend five hours with these ladies and gentlemen doing depositions surely yet to come,” the Congressman added.

Elsewhere during the hearing, Rep. Nancy Mace blasted the former executives for also, as highlighted by the Elon Musk’s release of The Twitter Files, working to suppress information regarding COVID.

“I along with many Americans have long term effects from COVID. Not only was I a long-hauler, but I have effects from the vaccine,” Mae declared.

She continued, “It wasn’t the first shot but it was the second shot. I have now developed asthma that has never gone away since I had the second shot. I have tremors in my left hand. And I have the occasional heart pains that no doctor can explain. And I’ve had a battery of tests.”

“I find it extremely alarming Twitter’s suppression spread into medical fields,” Mace told the former execs.

“You’re not a doctor, right?” Mace directly asked Gadde, adding “What makes you think you or anyone else at Twitter have the medical expertise to censor actual, accurate CDC data?”

Gadded pathetically claimed she was not familiar with these particular situations.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you’re not,” Mace shot back.

Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan told them they “got played by the FBI” over the Hunter Biden laptop, forcing Roth to admit that the New York Post report didn’t violate any Twitter policies in his opinion, but was censored anyway.

“This to me is the real takeaway,” Jordan said, going on to state “51 former intelligence officials, five days after you guys take down the Hunter Biden story and block the New York Post’s account, five days later, 51 former intel officials send a letter and they say, ‘the Hunter Biden story has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.’ The information operation was run on you guys, and then by extension then run on the American people. And that’s the concern.”

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert asked the former Twitter executives “Who the hell do you think you are?” for shadow banning people they disagree with on the platform.

Boebert also asked the execs if they had shadow banned her own account.

“I can reach out to Elon and to his staff, and I can see what’s happened ,and I can sit here today and hold you all in account,” Boebert concluded, adding “I am angry for the millions of Americans who were silenced because of your decisions, because of your actions, because of your collusion with the federal government. They can’t reach out to Elon. They can’t sit here today and hold you in account.”

The chair of the Committee, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky highlighted Tweets made by Roth in the past calling Republicans ‘Nazis’.

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia told Roth “You permanently banned my Twitter account but you allowed child porn all over Twitter.”

The former execs mostly either claimed ignorance and denied any wrong doing.

James Baker said he can’t recall speaking with the FBI while working at Twitter, and denied that he acted unlawfully:

Meanwhile, Roth attempted to argue that censorship on Twitter under his watch helped to create more freedom of speech.

Roth also admitted that he finds it “regrettable” that the conservative account LibsOfTikTok is still allowed to be active on Twitter:

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(TLB) published this article from from Sunnit News

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Former Twitter Execs Tell Congress: We Didn’t Meddle In 2020 Election And Also We Need To Do It More

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee confronted several former Twitter executives on Wednesday about their censorship activism and election meddling — specifically the Big Tech company’s suppression of the New York Post’s legitimate reporting about Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Twitter led Big Tech companies and corporate media in throttling the news of the Biden family’s deep corruption mere weeks before the 2020 presidential election. The decision, as the recent release of the “Twitter Files” under Elon Musk further exposed, was motivated by partisanship, not Twitter policy.

As Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer made clear at the beginning of the hearing, the oversight questioning on Wednesday was about exposing the relationship between Big Tech companies like Twitter and corrupt, partisan federal agencies like the FBI, which tried its best to kill scrutiny of the Biden family business ahead of the 2020 election.

“Twitter’s employees made censorship decisions on the fly, often not following the company’s own policy — publicly stated policies. It worked hand-in-hand with the FBI to monitor the protected speech of Americans receiving millions of tax dollars to do so,” Comer said. “Twitter, under the leadership of our witnesses today, was a private company the federal government used to accomplish what it constitutionally cannot — limit the free exercise of speech.”

Some Democrats tried to pivot the hearing away from its purpose by inviting surprise witness Anika Navaroli, a member of Twitter’s censorship team who was hailed as a hero after she helped the weaponized Jan. 6 Committee advance its anti-free speech agenda, to testify about Twitter’s need for more censorship.

Others, such as recently elected Democrat Rep. Maxwell Frost, even suggested the hearing was the result of GOP frustration about the 2020 presidential election results. According to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the hearing was a waste of time because it centered on a piece of “disinformation.”

The witnesses, former Deputy General Counsel of Twitter James Baker (who also used to serve as lead counsel for the FBI), former Chief Legal Officer of Twitter Vijaya Gadde (who was fired by Elon Musk shortly after he bought the company), and former Global Head of Trust & Safety of Twitter Yoel Roth, were all deeply involved in the decision to stop the story’s spread.

They may be former employees and they were under oath, but that didn’t stop Baker or any of the others from lying about the role they played in controlling dialogue in the public square.

Mistake or Calculated Strategy?

Right off the bat, Gadde and Roth both repeatedly stated that hindsight indicated the suppression of the New York Post’s legitimate reporting was a “mistake,” as former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also indicated in 2021.

Republicans weren’t buying it.

“There are mistakes that have been made and we keep looking back at these mistakes and say ‘oh that shouldn’t have happened that way. We are going to have a new policy to avoid that from happening again.’ But every mistake benefits one side,” Republican Rep. William Timmons said.

Roth admitted that while he initially disagreed with the assessment that the New York Post’s article violated Twitter policy, he deferred to higher-level executives such as his boss Del Harvey to make the final call.

“The company made a decision that it did violate company policy. It wasn’t my personal judgment at the time that it did. But the decision was communicated to me by my direct supervisor, and ultimately I didn’t disagree with it enough to object to it,” Roth said.

Roth’s manufactured regret about the company’s most infamous censorship decision wasn’t fooling anyone. Especially after he, with Democrat coaxing, expressed regret that conservative accounts like the influential Libs of TikTok still have access to the platform. It wasn’t the only time in the hearing the former Twitter censors suggested their previous attempts at shutting down users’ speech hadn’t gone far enough.

When he wasn’t stonewalling the questioning with accusations that Twitter denied him access to his old computer, Roth was complaining that former Twitter employees like himself faced harassment after the “Twitter Files” were released.

Baker, who played a key role in the FBI’s attempt to undermine former President Donald Trump via the Russian collusion hoax, similarly couched his testimony with claims that he was limited by nondisclosure agreements.

Musk fired Baker after he gave an “unconvincing” explanation for his “suppression of information important to the public dialogue,” which included reviewing the first round of the “Twitter Files” “without knowledge of new management.”

Yet, during the hearing, Baker still had the audacity to claim that he “did not destroy or improperly suppress any documents at Twitter.” He qualified his brazen and disproven statement by tacking on “regarding information important to the public dialogue” at the end, meaning information that he deemed important to the public conversation.

In his opening remarks, the former FBI lawyer also went so far as to claim that he erred on the side of “caution” when it came to handling the Hunter Biden laptop story.

“I did not act unlawfully or otherwise inappropriately in any manner with respect to Hunter Biden’s laptop,” Baker said. “Indeed, documents that Twitter has disclosed publicly reflect I urged caution with respect to the matter and noted that we needed more information to fully assess what was going on and to decide what to do.”

Documents uncovered in the “Twitter Files” also suggest that Baker aided in a domestic intelligence coup against Americans during the 2020 election by priming the lead censors at Twitter to discredit reporting on the Biden family business. The FBI, which was already aware of the laptop, had a classified briefing with Baker one month before the story broke (something Baker refused to admit to in the hearing).

Even though Baker’s former employer was aware of the veracity of Hunter’s laptop, Baker insisted that the contents violated Twitter’s policies. The FBI veteran sourced some of his skepticism from what he said were “reliable cybersecurity folks.”

Even when Roth said Twitter’s policies didn’t justify throttling the laptop story, Baker pushed for censorship.

Ultimately, even though Twitter never confirmed the material from Hunter’s laptop was hacked, Gadde gave the green light to block the link to the New York Post’s reporting.

Gadde confirmed that she gave the final word in Wednesday’s hearing.

“I ultimately approved that decision,” she said.

Censorship Lives On

Gadde had no excuses for why she couldn’t answer certain questions. That didn’t stop her from refusing to admit several proven things about Twitter’s censorship network.

Despite the clear evidence presented by several Republicans that Twitter damages the reach and obscures the content of conservative accounts with labels such as “search blacklists,” Gadde claimed Twitter’s only information suppression campaign is called “visibility filtering,” which “means something different” than shadow banning.

“You also said that Twitter does not shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology. Do you stand by those comments?” one committee member asked.

“While I was at Twitter, to the best of my knowledge, we did not do that,” she replied.

Gadde point-blank told users in 2018: “We do not shadow ban.”

Contrary to Gadde’s claims, the Dec. 8 installment of the “Twitter Files” revealed that “teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics—all in secret, without informing users.”

While conservatives are sidelined by secret and subjective censorship practices, Roth confirmed true and obvious violations of Twitter policies live untouched on the platform today.


Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordanboydtx.

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EXCLUSIVE: Biden Laptop Repairman Blasts Hunter’s Attempt To Sic DOJ On Hunter’s Foes

EXCLUSIVE: Biden Laptop Repairman Blasts Hunter’s Attempt To Sic DOJ On Hunter’s Foes

High-priced attorneys for Hunter Biden dispatched letters on Wednesday to the Delaware attorney general and the Department of Justice pushing them to launch investigations into a slew of individuals who had shared information allegedly retrieved from the laptop abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop. But yesterday’s transparent attempt to sic top state and federal law enforcement officials on those exposing the Biden family pay-to-play scandal is already backfiring, with Biden’s clarifying the letters are not an admission that the laptop was Hunter’s.

In two detailed, 14-page letters penned by Winston & Strawn attorney Abbe David Lowell, the Hunter Biden attorney requested the attorney general of Delaware and the Department of Justice investigate whether John Paul Mac Isaac, Robert Costello, Rudy Giuliani, Stephen Bannon, Jack Maxey, Garrett Ziegler, and Yaacov Apelbaum committed state or federal crimes. “There is considerable reason to believe” those individuals violated various laws “in accessing, copying, manipulating, and/or disseminating Mr. Biden’s personal computer data,” Hunter’s attorney opened his Wednesday missive.

The lengthy letters then detail each of the individuals’ purported actions that Lowell claims provide “considerable reason to believe” they committed various state or federal crimes, which the Winston & Strawn attorney then identifies and analyzes.  

Starting with John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of the Delaware repair shop where the laptop was left for repairs, Lowell asserts, “Mr. Mac Isaac has admitted to gaining access to our client’s personal computer data in Delaware without Mr. Biden’s consent.” 

“Mr. Mac Isaac has admitted to copying that data without Mr. Biden’s consent, and Mr. Mac Isaac has admitted to distributing copies of that data from his place in Delaware,” the letter to the Delaware AG continues.

Given that Mac Isaac has maintained from day one that the “computer data” he copied was contained on a laptop abandoned at his repair shop by an individual he believed was Hunter Biden, yesterday’s letters to the Delaware attorney general and the DOJ appeared as an apparent admission by Hunter that yes, the laptop was his.  

But when asked whether Hunter “now acknowledge[s] he or someone on his behalf dropped off his laptop for repairs at Mac Isaac’s store,” Lowell told The Federalist, “These letters do not confirm Mac Isaac’s or others’ versions of a so-called laptop. They address their conduct of seeking, manipulating and disseminating what they allege to be Mr. Biden’s personal data, wherever they claim to have gotten it.”

In an exclusive interview with The Federalist, Mac Isaac’s attorney Brian Della Rocca seemed flabbergasted by the continued obfuscating by Hunter Biden’s legal team. “Is Hunter denying that he was in Delaware in April of 2019 then? To this day, he has not denied being in Wilmington at that time,” he said. “Nor has he ever denied dropping off the laptop with John Paul. Is he denying doing so now?”

“John Paul has not, nor will he ever manipulate the data on Hunter’s hard drive. That is just not who he is,” Della Rocca told The Federalist. And it would be easy to confirm the authenticity of the data, Della Rocca explained, stressing that “the data on the drive he has can be compared to the laptop, which is in the possession of the FBI, to show he has not made any changes to the information.”  

Della Rocca also condemned the letters’ attempt to suggest Mac Isaac lied to law enforcement officials.  

“Mr. Mac Isaac has insisted that he did not make a bit-by-bit copy or clone of the hard drive,” page eight of the Biden attorney’s letter maintained, continuing:

Nor could he make such a copy because the hard drive was soldered to the laptop’s mother board, and he could not stay logged into the waterlogged laptop long enough to copy the entirety of the hard drive because the waterlogged laptop would periodically turn off. Instead, Mr. Mac Isaac chose what he wanted to access and copy from Mr. Biden’s personal data that Mr. Mac Isaac unlawfully obtained. Thus, any representation by Mr. Mac Isaac to law enforcement that what was in his possession was the entire hard drive would have been a knowing false statement. Moreover, the absence of a true clone of the hard drive created the opportunity for mischief—namely, the addition of files to this “hard drive,” the manipulation of files on this “hard drive,” and the destruction of files from this “hard drive.”

Mac Isaac’s attorney told The Federalist this passage represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the process for retrieving data from a damaged MacBook Pro 13. “Due to the damaged condition and poor stability of the MacBook, John Paul had to manually recover the user data,” Mac Isaac’s attorney explained. “John Paul was able to recover the entire contents (220GB) [of] the folder named, RobertHunter.”

Per Hunter’s request, no attempt to recover the remaining system files or applications was made because they did not include personal data,” Mac Isaac’s lawyer stressed. Della Rocca added that “the only law enforcement agency to which John Paul has provided a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop was the FBI,” and that the FBI also took custody of the laptop at the same time, making it possible for the FBI to compare what Mac Isaac recovered from the “RobertHunter” folder on the original laptop. “There would be no difference,” Mac Isaac’s attorney emphasized.  

The accusation that Mac Isaac accessed Hunter Biden’s personal data without his consent is also “absolutely false,” Della Rocca told The Federalist.  

While Della Rocca did not elaborate, the signed repair contract stated that if the laptop was not retrieved within 90 days of “notification of completed service,” it would be treated as “abandoned.” Hunter Biden’s attorney did not respond to The Federalist’s inquiry on whether it was his position that Hunter Biden had “not abandoned the property under the repair contract,” with the Winston & Strawn attorney instead stressing the letters do not confirm Mac Isaac’s “versions of a so-called laptop.”  

The repair contract further provided that the owner of the equipment agreed to hold Mac Isaac “harmless for any damage or loss of property.”  

Yet, here we are, with “another privileged person hiring yet another high-priced attorney to redirect attention away from his own unlawful actions,” Della Rocca scoffed. “This is entirely a P.R. move,” he added, telling The Federalist he first saw the lengthy letters from Hunter’s attorney when CBS contacted him for comment.

The public relations move, however, is already backfiring, with the general public interpreting the letter as an implicit acknowledgment that the laptop from hell was Hunter Biden’s. And things may only get worse, if the FBI is forced to confirm that, yes, the damning documents publicly circulating are authentic copies of the material contained in the MacBook’s “RobertHunter” folder.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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