Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a member of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, today questioned journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger on their insight into the FBI’s communication with Twitter to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story and the partisan censorship they – and other journalists – have experienced for their accurate reporting of the truth on the Twitter Files.
Earlier today, FBI Director Wray buckled under her questioning and refused to answer whether the highly-reported Hunter Biden laptop story is disinformation.
Highlights from the questioning include:
Stefanik: I just came from an open hearing with FBI Director Chris Wray. He said under oath that no one from the FBI communicated with Twitter regarding the Hunter Biden laptop story. Based upon both of your courageous reporting, can you address that?
Shellenberger: What we saw was a huge amount of FBI communications to Twitter. We saw the former Deputy Chief of Staff, the former General Counsel showing up at Twitter right at the critical period. So I find a lot of suspicious activity.
I find it very suspicious and unresolved.
Taibbi: We do know that there was a teleporter communication that had 10 documents in it just before the story broke.
Stefanik: I don't take his word for it. We have lots of examples where they have not been accurate from that particular agency when it comes to testifying before Congress. So it is our job in this committee to get to the truth, to shine sunlight and transparency for the American people.
I want to ask you both about the Aspen Digital hack-and-dump working group, which involved an 11 day scenario in October 2020 that began with the imaginary release of falsified records – that's what they claim – related to Hunter Biden's controversial employment by the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
This is truly the definition of the weaponization against free speech and suppressing accurate reporting.
Shellenberger: There was a Stanford cyber policy institute report, which was, in menacing terms, telling journalists that they should abandon the Pentagon Principle. Again, this is the Pentagon Papers Principle.
You read this and it feels like a kind of brainwashing exercise that Aspen Institute and Stanford were running against American journalists and the social media companies.
Taibbi: There were a couple of moments in the Twitter Files that really speak to a kind of larger problem.
There is no basis to restrict the publication of true material, no matter who the sources and how you get it. Journalists have always understood that. This has never been an issue or a controversial issue, until very recently.
Shellenberger: We're so far down the slippery slope, you've crashed at that point. I mean, it's a disturbing trend in journalism, social media, and in the relationship from the intelligence community to these organizations.