Dump #15, once again from journalist Matt Taibbi, noted that a site called "Hamilton 68," which claimed to track Russia's 'election interference' efforts, suddenly sprang up amid the cacophony of calls about 'collusion' only to become one of the most highly cited sources of what were baseless allegations.
"The website claims to monitor a secret list of Twitter accounts which they accused of Kremlin control, however, it's impossible to verify their claims as the group has never disclosed their methodology," Zero Hedge reported this week.
Hamilton 68 was and is a computerized “dashboard” designed to be used by reporters and academics to measure “Russian disinformation”. It was the brainchild of former FBI agent (and current MSNBC “disinformation expert”) Clint Watts, and backed by the German Marshall Fund and the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan think-tank. The latter’s advisory panel includes former acting CIA chief Michael Morell, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, former Hillary for America chair John Podesta, and onetime Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.
1.THREAD: Twitter Files #15
MOVE OVER, JAYSON BLAIR: TWITTER FILES EXPOSE NEXT GREAT MEDIA FRAUD pic.twitter.com/bLRpDpuWql
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 2023
"Ambitious media frauds Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair crippled the reputations of the New Republic and New York Times, respectively, by slipping years of invented news stories into their pages. Thanks to the Twitter Files, we can welcome a new member to their infamous club: Hamilton 68," Taibbi continued.
"If one goes by volume alone, this oft-cited neoliberal think-tank that spawned hundreds of fraudulent headlines and TV news segments may go down as the single greatest case of media fabulism in American history," he added, further exposing the fraud. "Virtually every major news organization in America is implicated, including NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and the Washington Post. Mother Jones alone did at least 14 stories pegged to the group’s 'research.' Even fact-checking sites like Politifact and Snopes cited Hamilton 68 as sources."
Twitter CEO Elon Musk summarized the findings: "An American group made false claims about Russian election interference to interfere with American elections."
An American group made false claims about Russian election interference to interfere with American elections https://t.co/Bpej1UOlOw
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2023
What's interesting is that even the old Twitter management team thought the Hamilton 68 operation was fraudulent. At one point, then-Twitter Safety director Yoel Roth wrote, "I think we need to just call this out on the bullshit it is."
2.“I think we need to just call this out on the bullshit it is.” pic.twitter.com/q2n6pCZRzv
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 2023
Also, Taibbi noted that the old management team was concerned enough about the shady organization's claims that they ordered a forensic analysis that found of 644 listed accounts, only 36 of them were registered in Russia, and many of those associated with state-aligned media outlet Russia Today, or RT.com.
"Examining further, Twitter execs were shocked. The accounts Hamilton 68 claimed were linked to 'Russian influence activities online' were not only overwhelmingly English-language (86%), but mostly 'legitimate people,' largely in the U.S., Canada, and Britain. Grasping right away that Twitter might be implicated in a moral outrage, they wrote that these account holders 'need to know they’ve been unilaterally labeled Russian stooges without evidence or recourse,'" Taibbi noted further.
He also added that another of Hamilton 68's tactics was to label conservative views, figures, and outlets as puppets of Vladimir Putin's regime, which, of course, was also false.
Other internal Twitter comments that Taibbi uncovered include:
“These accounts are neither strongly Russian nor strongly bots.”
“No evidence to support the statement that the dashboard is a finger on the pulse of Russian information ops.”
“Hardly evidence of a massive influence campaign.”
But -- why was this withheld from the public? Why didn't Twitter's old management reveal that they, too, had issues with this organization? That, in and of itself, is a scandal.