According to the latest drop of “Twitter Files” from Michael Shellenberger, “As of 2020, there were so many former FBI employees — ‘Bu alumni’ — working at Twitter that they had created their own private Slack channel and a crib sheet to onboard new FBI arrivals.” It appears that Twitter still has 14 employees on the payroll who worked at the FBI and CIA.
The problem isn’t just confined to Twitter. My colleague and Federalist contributor Ben Weingarten recently wrote an article for the New York Post, “Inside revolving door between Democrat Deep State and Big Tech.”
In addition to covering what was happening at Twitter, Weingarten details a broader number of suspicious links between Silicon Valley and U.S. intelligence agencies. Given the near-constant string of deep-state scandals and social media censorship we’ve endured in recent years, a big question we should all be trying to answer right now is, “What exactly are all these spooks doing at tech companies?”
So far, the answer appears to be: “They’re almost certainly up to no good.” After the first batch of “Twitter Files” dropped, it was revealed that Elon Musk fired Twitter Deputy General Counsel James Baker. Prior to going to work at Twitter, Baker was a top lawyer at the FBI from 2014 to 2017. In that capacity, he played a significant role in shepherding FBI’s baseless and illegal Russiagate investigation.
In fact, it’s probably safe to assume one of the reasons Baker exited the FBI was to dodge any accountability for the FBI’s reckless and politically motivated attempt to investigate the president of the United States. Twitter was a pretty soft landing.
Or at least it was, until it was revealed that Baker, who was still employed at Twitter as of a few weeks ago, got fired after he intercepted the internal company communications Musk was giving to journalists Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss to expose the censorship and misdeeds of the company’s previous management. Nobody has quite figured out what he was doing, but there’s widespread speculation Baker may have removed Twitter communications with the FBI or other damning info before it could become public.
Yes, large global corporations need high-level, discreet corporate security, and potentially for benign purposes the particular skillsets that former law enforcement and intelligence personnel provide. However, the situation with Baker makes the problem plenty obvious. If you’re inclined to automatically trust the professionalism and integrity of the FBI and CIA, please have your head examined.
I want to know how many of these FBI and CIA agents are “sheep dipped.” In the intelligence world, “sheep dipping” is a term of art. It describes a tactic whereby a member of the military is “officially discharged from service” to do covert work. In secret, they are still eligible for rank promotions and military benefits.
I first learned the term from my father, because he was “sheep dipped.” He worked for the CIA in Laos in the early 1960s lead-up to the Vietnam War. He was a young Marine officer. During his year in Laos, his normal service records were replaced with records saying he was separated from the Marine Corps, to allow the government to deny any responsibility if anything happened to him. When he returned from Laos, they swapped out the files saying he’d left the Marine Corps with his regular service record, all as if nothing unusual had happened.
Suffice it to say, during this episode, dad witnessed the CIA’s involvement in drug smuggling and other unsavory behavior. The whole episode left a very bad taste in his mouth.
Fun fact I learned earlier this year: The man in charge of CIA operations in Laos when my father was there was the legendary spymaster Ray Cline. One Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory relates that Lee Harvey Oswald, who was still serving in the Marines when he briefly defected to the Soviet Union, didn’t really defect. He was sheep dipped and working for the CIA on an intelligence-gathering mission inside the Soviet Union.
The whole crazy escapade, according to the tale, was possibly organized by Cline, the local CIA station chief at the same time and place as one of Oswald’s previous overseas deployments. For what it’s worth, Cline also happens to be the former father-in-law of Stefan Halper, the dubious paid informant who was the FBI’s source for much of their bogus Trump-Russia investigation.
In case, you’re keeping track, why yes, I did just draw a line, albeit not a particularly straight one, that connects the Kennedy assassination and the Russiagate scandal. (It would have been too digressive to mention Cline and Halper’s connections to Watergate and Iran Contra, but I think you get the drift.)
Now, as clarification, I should say that “sheep dipping” seems to apply mostly to the intel community’s use of military personnel and isn’t necessarily an all-purpose phrase for CIA or FBI undercover work. One of the most annoying things about being subjected to years of completely credulous Russiagate and Steele dossier coverage was every pundit suddenly becoming an armchair expert on espionage and throwing around phrases such as “SIGINT” when we all know they just learned what signals intelligence was 15 minutes ago.
But the point here isn’t to offer up conspiracies about the Kennedy assassination. It’s to make the point that one reason conspiracy theories are so easy to believe is that it’s well-known the Deep-State Industrial Complex employs a lot of tactics such as sheep dipping that are expressly about manipulation and deception.
Combined with so many official denials over the years that turned out to be lies, this makes it impossible to believe intel agencies when they say they aren’t doing something. It was very much denied that American soldiers were in Southeast Asia when my dad was in the jungle learning how to eat soup with chopsticks. More recently, we have very dishonest denials about domestic spying by Obama intelligence officials John Brennan and James Clapper that in a just society should have led to criminal charges.
The FBI response to “Twitter Files” revelations that they were working behind the scenes with the social media network and encouraging censorship is about the furthest thing from reassuring. “The FBI regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities,” an FBI spokesman told journalist Jon Nicosia. “Private sector entities independently make decisions about what, if any, action they take on their platforms and for their customers after the FBI has notified them.”
Based on what we know, there’s absolutely no reason not to assume that, of the numerous former FBI and CIA employees at Twitter, some weren’t either informally or directly working for intel agencies. Further, it is incredibly alarming that the watchdogs that are supposed to protect us from rogue government agencies eroding our rights can’t be bothered to investigate this.
For most of my life, the corporate media, and the activist left in particular, treated these agencies with extreme skepticism. Revelations such as these would formerly have set off klaxons in newsrooms.
But now? “People’s brains are so drowning in partisan muck that the Bernie/AOC left — which still pretends to find the CIA and FBI nefarious if you force them to take a stance — refuses to care about the grave dangers in what [Matt Taibbi] reported about FBI’s role [at Twitter],” says Glenn Greenwald. Worse, Greenwald observes that their shared partisan obsessions mean that the left has completely surrendered to the corporatist imperatives of liberal institutions such as the media. “The only real enemies they see are the Trump movement and GOP. That’s why I use ‘left-liberal’: their core worldviews have merged,” he further observes.
With the exception of an under-resourced conservative media and a few independent lefty journalists such as Taibbi and Greenwald — who have dared to stay true to ideals that most of the journalists now trying to discredit them claimed to hold six years ago — no one is interested in solid evidence suggesting intel agencies have been secretly curbing Americans’ First Amendment rights, and possibly doing so to explicitly influence elections.
The fact that so few people are curious about the nexus between intel agencies and Big Tech, even when the evidence is staring them in the face, should be a national scandal. Americans deserve to know the truth about whether our intel agencies are being used against citizens. We should be concerned that the full extent of what they’ve done — and what they likely continue to do — to us will never be known.