Twitter Execs Testify That Their Election-Meddling Decisions Were Even Flimsier Than Previously Claimed

When the New York Post dropped its bombshell reporting on documents recovered from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop in October of 2020, Twitter did not reach out to the FBI to ask whether the reporting was Russian disinformation — despite extensive coordination with the FBI to prepare to combat foreign election interference. Instead, according to testimony at Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing, Twitter relied on the tweets of supposed experts, making the tech giant’s decision to censor the Post’s story even more outrageous.

The House Oversight Committee now has four ex-Twitter executives to question about their decision not to censor Hunter Biden’s laptop story. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., pushed Twitter’s former global head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, to explain the timing of Twitter’s decision to censor the New York Post story. 

Biggs pointed out that Roth stated in an 8:51 a.m. E-mail on October 14, 2020 that the laptop had been stolen. “isn’t clearly violative of our Hacked Materials Policy.” But then, by 10:12, Roth emailed his colleagues with Twitter’s decision to censor the story, stating that “the key factor informing our approach is consensus from experts monitoring election security and disinformation that this looks a lot like a hack-and-leak operation.”

Biggs questioned the ex-Twitter executive about which cybersecurity experts Roth had consulted between 9:00 a.m. (the morning of the Post story) and 10:00 a.m. (10:15 a.m.) on October 14, 2020. 

Roth replied that experts were the ones Twitter heads were following. “We were following discussions about this as they unfolded on Twitter,” Roth explained. “Cybersecurity experts were tweeting about this incident and sharing their perspectives, and that informed some of Twitter’s judgment here.”

Kelly Armstrong, R.N.D., was outraged: “After 2016, you set up all these teams to deal with Russian interference, foreign interference, having regular meetings with the FBI, you have connections with all of these different government agencies, and you didn’t reach out to them once?”

“That’s right,” Roth said, noting he didn’t think it would be appropriate. 

Twitter instead relied upon the tweets of pretended experts in national security. 

Who those experts were, Roth didn’t say, but here we have another strange coincidence: In his testimony on Wednesday, Roth told the committee that a few weeks before the Post story dropped, he had participated in an exercise hosted by the Aspen Institute, with other media outlets and social media companies, that posed a hack and leak October surprise involving Hunter Biden. Roth testified Garrett Graff organized that event.

Graff also tweeted his plan for how media should respond to the Post story at 8:23 AM on October 14, 2020 “this Biden-Burisma crap.”

Graff, who followed approximately 10 minutes later and tweeted, “Also, what a TOTAL coincidence that this fake Hunter Biden scandal drops the literal day after it becomes clear that both of Bill Barr’s other intended October surprises—the Durham investigation and the unmasking investigation—have fallen apart??!” 

Graff started pushing the buttons not long after.

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