Twitter Files: FBI Assisted Ukraine in Targeting Journalists and Others for Censorship

Twitter continues to reveal the extensive censorship system created by government and corporate officials despite continued efforts from the left to drain the company of revenue. (The latest company to cancel Twitter is Ben & Jerry’s which objected to the company’s greater protections for free speech as allowing harmful views to be heard on social media). However, Elon Musk is undeterred and has continued to reduce censorship on the platform while letting the public see what the government has been doing behind the scenes on social media. The latest disclosure is astonishing. The FBI not only targeted individuals that it wanted banned for dissenting views, but it also was enlisted by Ukraine to target its own critics.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has long been criticized for arresting opponents, shutting down opposing parties, and extensive censorship. It was not previously known that the FBI assisted it in the censorship effort, including targeting a number of journalists in America and abroad.

Journalist Aaron Maté reported that the FBI served as an intermediary on these efforts to censor critics.

In March 2022, an FBI Special Agent sent Twitter a list of accounts on behalf of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Ukraine’s main intelligence agency. The accounts, the FBI wrote, “are suspected by the SBU in spreading fear and disinformation.” In an attached memo, the SBU asked Twitter to remove the accounts and hand over their user data.

The Ukrainian government’s FBI-enabled targets extend to members of the media. The SBU list that the FBI provided to Twitter included my name and Twitter profile. In its response to the FBI, Twitter agreed to review the accounts for “inauthenticity” but raised concerns about the inclusion of me and other “American and Canadian journalists.”

Previous disclosures have shown an extensive censorship and blacklisting effort. Despite such evidence of direct government censorship efforts, Democratic members continue to oppose attempts to expose the full scope of such government programs and grants.  Witnesses who testified about the dangers of such censorship efforts were even denounced as “Putin lovers” and apologists for insurrectionists and racists by leading Democrats.

Even with the targeting of journalists on behalf of a foreign government, most reporters have shrugged and declined to cover this story. It is another example of a de facto state media where journalists support a government by consent rather than coercion.

This would seem a major story on how U.S. citizens are sending tens of billions to Ukraine as Ukraine seeks the censorship of U.S. citizens and others for their criticism or viewpoints.

Twitter has itself been criticized for censorship material under pressure from China. Those are deeply concerning allegations, though it is clear that the level of censorship on the platform has been dramatically reduced with Musk’s removal of much of the corporate censorship infrastructure.

Democrats in Congress are even more open in opposing any investigation into the censorship, particularly after past releases implicated figures like Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Cal.) in targeting critics. The Democratic leadership has opposed any investigations for years. They have even refused to accept the email evidence. When I testified on the Twitter Files, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) criticized me for offering “legal opinions” without actually working at Twitter. As I have noted, it is like saying that a witness should not discuss the contents of the Pentagon Papers unless he worked at the Pentagon. It was particularly bizarre because I was asked about the content of the Twitter Files.  The content — like the content of the Pentagon Papers — are “facts.” The implication of those facts are opinions.

Members like Wasserman Schultz will likely continue to refuse to acknowledge these new emails. However, the public has repeatedly shown in polls that they want transparency on the censorship efforts.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that companies like Facebook have steadfastly refused to be as transparent as Twitter, which is smaller than other social media companies. These other companies likely have equally, if not greater, systems of coordination with the federal government. However, those executives are not allowing the public to know how their companies engaged in censorship by surrogate.

159 thoughts on “Twitter Files: FBI Assisted Ukraine in Targeting Journalists and Others for Censorship”

  1. I’m not sure which surprises me the least; the FBI being weaponized against the Left’s political opponents. Or JT being attacked by blog trolls for posting about it.

    Oh the good ole days when the FBI was catching spies like Robert Hanssen. Now, their reputation has completely flipped. Instead of the agency catching lone bad actors working inside the agency harming the U.S., we have whistleblowers exposing the agency as the bad actor.

    The number comments by the Leftist trolls only prove this post is accurate and extremely damaging.

    1. It takes a lot of work to be looney and even more work to play looney tunes day after day after day as the Media Matters DNC paid troll Svelaz / Peter Shill / Wally / Reagan / Gigi / bug / sealioning Anonymous et al


      1. Darren has lately been doing blog maintenance and threads involving the trolls have been removed. That should be a hint to anyone desiring to reply to these trolls that they will be hit with Darren’s magic wand in the process.

          1. Replying to the trolls doesn’t require you join their thread. It’s a loss to the blog when your well-thought comments disappear.

            1. Some of my best comments were deleted by Darren because they were posted to a thread begun by a troll. Oh the agony! now i am careful where I comment. Perhaps Darren is compiling our deleted comments into a book that would obviously be a best seller.

              – legend in my own mind


              1. Hey legend, 😉 this blog is blessed to have some truly honorable people that provide great comments that deserve to be read now and in the archives. Unfortunately, they’ll get lost to the landfill as Darren takes out the trash stinking up this blog. We can all easily respond to these trolls, just do it indirectly.

        1. Peter, you get paid by the baggy with crystal meth in it by your handlers. If it isn’t pure enough to stimulate your dead neurons, it tells you it is time to get a life

  2. If anyone loves their country, we should remember most government employees are good people trying to serve the American people but stuck in really bad bureaucratic systems.

    This bureaucratic system weeds out those most loyal to their Oath of Office like CIA official John Kiriakou who refused to betray his Oath of Office, by refusing to violate Ronald Reagan’s Torture Treaty – which is also codified into federal law. The system rewards the worst leaders and punishes the most loyal leaders.

    The other big systematic villain here is “Mission Creep” – when an agency runs out of legitimate targets meeting it’s original mission, it simply manufactures new enemies. The only system in the world that creates both supply and demand to keep it growing.

    Tell your member of Congress to fix this broken “system”. Subordinate government employees are a military design, they follow orders from superiors. If the agency heads are disloyal to their Oath of Office, that taints the entire agency.

    Stop bashing the lowly public servants following orders in this broken system.

  3. Sure, Elon has done some good things re Twitter, but don’t forget his kowtowing to the CCP foreign minister and the minister for trade last week in Beijing. Musk promised not to harm the CCP by promoting “decoupling,” which would stop the transfer of our tech and capital to this fascist regime. Musk now has TWO Tesla plants in China, which is the major source of his income. And he has still not unlocked accounts that have been critical of the CCP. Musk is a CCP stooge.

  4. WOW!!!

    It’s clear that Jonathan Turley is poking holes in the narrative balloons that are being presented by the political left and now the hive-minded progressive cult of internet trolls (you know who you are) are coming out in force on this topic to present their usual line up of ad hominems, lies, innuendo, unethical rationalizations and complete ridiculousness. These trolls are blithering idiots and immoral shills of the political left and they should be completely ignored.


    As for revelations about Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, I’ve been saying for quite a while…

    “The political left has shown its pattern of propaganda lies within their narratives so many times since 2016 that it’s beyond me why anyone would blindly accept any narrative that the political left and their lapdog media actively push?”

    …this concept should be applied to all of the propaganda presented about the war in Ukraine.

    The political lefts’ Pravda-USA media outlets, in all their ugly forms, are pure leftist propaganda activism and absolutely nothing they present should be taken at face value, they are doing their best to try and spoon feed the population that which will press forward their totalitarian agenda and they actively suppress the rest. Yes, it’s that simple. Open your eyes.

  5. I am not a twitter user, but this is just another reason for me to not buy Ben & Jerry’s. If they utilized grammar properly, it should be actually be “Ben’s and Jerry’s.” (lol)

  6. Actually I think Elon’s new brain chip is being tested in the field. I believe the democrats in the House, Senate and governorships all have their implants. You know this because once either Joe, Chuck,Hakeem, Gavin say something the exact wording comes out of every other democrat in the country, with rare exceptions. There are periodic downloads.
    You know Joe has the most recent download whenever he shakes hands with the air or falls down on the stage or forgets to duck coming out of the helicopter (the older the brain, the slower the download is installed). Joe Manchin obviously has a malfunctioning chip when he seems to espouse the new download talking points until elections close in and then it ceases to work. Tulsi Gabbard had an acute rejection and hers had to be removed. RFK Jr. never got one because no one realized he was still out there (The democratic authorities are still trying to schedule a time for his implant but he thinks it’s a hidden vaccine and he continues to resist).
    As far as the FBI and Ukraine are concerned. If this is true the FBI should never have carried the water for Ukraine at all or even suggested it would. Ukraine is at war and they need to do their own dirty work on censoring. The first casualty of war is the truth.

    1. Interesting conspiracy theory. The Democrat Party is a zombie hive mind. They all vote in lockstep and use the same narrative talking points. No individuality. During the Speaker debate, I was able to observe the Chief Zombie, Hakeem Jeffries. His eyes were completely dead, as if his soul had departed and was being run remotely. His fellow zombie robots applauded his every word and used the same expressions. It’s bizarre.

  7. Simple questions for the FBI Lovers… this un-constitutional censorship…..what did Comey know and when did he know it? Add to that every person who ever entered the sacrosacnt 7th Floor at the FBI HQ….named after J Edgar Hoover who was also no stranger to violating Citizen’s Constitutional freedoms.

    The FBI has never been about protecting us….it. has always been about protecting the government and the FBI’s own interests.

    With all of the talk of changes made etc by one FBI Director after another….how many FBI Managers ever got fired or disciplined in a meaningful way….EVER?

    Despite the patently clear direct violations of the Constitution and Federal Rules of Evidence even violations of the Uniform Code… many criminal. prosecutions ever took place?

    The Feeb’s might fire or prosecute members of the Rank and File that are out there each day trying to do the job in the right way but the management (read Directors and other 7th Floor inhabitants) remain immune from such treatment.

    Is that how you think the World’s Finest Investigative Agency (as the FBI loves to claim) should operate?

  8. Wow.
    The trolls are out in force today.
    The good professor must of touched a nerve.
    Keep up the good work professor!

  9. When the Soviet Union was our mortal enemy, a country so dangerous, expansionist and threateningly leftist, our media, Hollywood and academia all loved them. The outrage of our ties was when Joe McCarthy pointed out, sometimes wrongly, the Soviet agents within our government and in Hollywood and the left went berserk about it. Cripes sake they are still making films about Donald Trumbo and others. Today since China is our real enemy the left doesn’t criticize them at all and if you don’t want to get into a shooting war with a nuclear Russia you are a “Putin Lover”. Actually work for Stalin…get sainthood, not want war…censored on social media.

    There are still old pony-tailed college professors who will argue that the Rosenbergs were innocent and Algier Hiss was not a spy as they still scream about Nixon. These same Hiss and Julius Rosenberg apologists are now sucking up to the CCP, the Palestinians and even Iran, because they hate America.

    I will now let you all go on to skip past the 200 comments of “Anonymous” (Svelaz).

    1. Which camp do you think Aaron Mate falls in?

      Mate fails to acknowledge WHERE he got the “Twitter Files.” It likely wasn’t the FBI, so best guess is Twitter. So, perhaps the real question is which camp do you think Mate and Twitter fall in?

  10. Has anyone else noticed that as we less and less of Svelaz we are seeing more and more of some Democrat Operative named “Anonymous”? I know there are more than one person that goes by Anonymous (really folks, pick a damn name already) but I also know, as does every regular reader, that one particular “Anonymous” is the troll working for the Democrats and it seems as if he is really, really active today. Probably because he is a member of the “censorship brigade” and he hates Turley discussing this topic.

    1. HullBobby,
      I noticed.
      Also noticed when Darren logged on and cleaned up the usual mess, Bug’s comments got deleted, naturally.
      Also who got deleted was that Time Perterson person. Looks like bugs attempt to use a different name to generate more lively discussion failed. As usual.
      After all, it is not generating lively discussion. It is pushing DNC propaganda.
      Just scroll past.

      1. Upstate, I am glad you noticed too. I keep begging everyone that isn’t a troll to create some sort of moniker so we don’t have decent folks with the name of Anonymous and we can therefore ignore the truly idiotic partisans such as “Anonymous”. ”I agree, ignore the trolls.

  11. “The accounts, the FBI wrote, ‘are suspected by the SBU in spreading fear and disinformation.’ In an attached memo, the SBU asked Twitter to remove the accounts and hand over their user data.”

    So now our own Praetorian Guard does the bidding of a foreign country’s secret police. It used to be the FBI’s job to *protect* an American’s constitutional and civil rights. Now it is a grave threat to those rights.

    Private criminals are always a minor threat to a country’s freedom. However, when those criminals occupy government (the FBI!), your freedoms are doomed.

  12. I wouldn’t be too quick to sing Musk’s praises. Twitter banned me for posting that men cannot be women. What’s one person’s free speech is a censors hate speech.

    1. GioCon, patience. Musk is fighting the same thing Trump fought. Employees ignoring the bosses direct orders. He has gotten rid of 75% of the payroll, Its going to take time to get the right people in place.

  13. However, those executives are not allowing the public to know how their companies engaged in censorship by surrogate.

    From a medical health perspective, those engaged in the most pernicious censorship are Federal leaders who direct the National Institutes of Health, on which physicians and medical researchers have traditionally relied for bullet proof scientific studies. Their censoring, manipulating data and imposing mandates by sheer fiats have caused incalculable harm to all Americans. Their harm was so vast that we still are processing raw data that keeps being generated from their failed edicts. It doesnt appear they are inclined to look within and make corrections to avoid repeating their deadly decisions. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, social media, etc are one thing, but when our health leaders out perform the nefarious deeds that the Tuskegee Syphilis Study Federal leaders did, all Americans suffer greatly

    NIH scientist Margery Smelkinson testifies before Congress on natural immunity. Her written and video testimony follow:

    1. She is a bright one. She knows her data and she knows the phraseology to characterize what Democrats did as promoting inequity. Brilliant

      The data showed that natural immunity was as protective as vaccinated immunity and when we’re talking about equitable policies, lower income minority communities tended to be less vaccinated. And relatedly they also tended to have more natural immunity. So these vaccine passports that were enacted were actually quite inequitable as well…

      1. Estovir: Excellent contribution to the discussion, which I likely would not have seen/known. Thank you.

  14. That the FBI was comfortable asking Twitter to censor Americans with whom they (or the Biden administration) disagreed was bad enough. However, to help foreign governments censor their critics illustrates just how far off the rails the FBI has gone. They routinely dismiss Congressional subpoenas as if they are a sovereign country floating offshore in international waters. The only remedy to fix this is to disband the FBI, auction off their Gulfstream V, and assign their functions to other federal agencies. Anything short of disbanding the agency won’t work because like weeds, they will grow back. Thank you, Jonathan, for an excellent article.

  15. On interview the other day, a Republican member of the House opined that, evidence notwithstanding, any attempt at sending Articles of Impeachment to the Senate would be shot down by the Democrat majority. The only recourse will be in 2024 with an overwhelming Republican down ballot landslide. The Legislative and the Executive branches have to be debrided of their rotten flesh.

  16. Professor Turley,

    Why are we assuming this “Twitter Files” post is actual reported news?

    Two observations:

    1) if you click on the Twitter link, Mate says the FBI “is helping” Ukraine, but proceeds to discuss actions in March 22. So, either Musk is currently assisting the FBI, or this “journalist” is an idiot who doesn’t understand verb tenses.

    2) Can anyone point to the individual/org that authenticated any of this? The posts even clarify that the FBI has not confirmed their authenticity, yet Mate fails to do the basic work of informing his readers of the source of the emails.

    This is piss poor “journalism” that doesn’t meet basic standards.

    1. This is piss poor “journalism” that doesn’t meet basic standards.

      From the mind of a proud HOAXER. Its like you were in a comma from 6 years.

  17. 100% of governing officials – including FBI employees – take a supreme loyalty oath to not violate the constitutional rights of persons on U.S. soil and U.S. citizens abroad.

    This Oath of Office includes not violating the First Amendment infringement on freedom of speech, freedom of/from religion and freedom to petition the government with grievances – it’s the constitutional rights of all Americans.

    One cannot become an FBI employee without agreeing to this employment contract. When FBI employees get arrested by government government watchdogs – they almost always are disloyal to the solemn loyalty oath they agreed to when hired.

  18. Apparently Prof. Turley is hitting a nerve by exposing truth — it’s causing the radical Left trolls to go into overdrive with their comments. Be very thankful for the good professor’s work, along with independent journalists to keep informed.

  19. “We love making ice cream but using our business to make the world a better place gives our work its meaning” This is on Ben & Jerry’s web site. I would say that their ice cream is offensive….. to the waistline. However, they can spend their advertising dollars as they wish.
    I wish corporations would stay out of politics and just stick to making their products.

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