How the U.S. Government punished independent journalist Matt Taibbi for Twitter Files report

by WorldTribune Staff, May 25, 2023

The IRS opened an investigation into independent journalist Matt Taibbi on Dec. 24, 2022, the same day Taibbi published what he called “the most explosive of the Twitter Files reports” titled “Twitter and Other Government Agencies.”

Independent journalist Matt Taibbi

The Twitter Files published by Taibbi on Christmas Eve were based on documents passed to the social media platform by the FBI-led Foreign Influence Task Force. The documents showed Twitter “was receiving content recommendations in bulk from an array of federal agencies through the FBI, about a range of topics — from domestic extremist groups in the U.S. to leftist activists in Venezuela to Ukraine, Joe Biden, and the energy company Burisma,” Taibbi noted.

Related: Twitter Files: Not only FBI, but CIA, State, Pentagon targeted First Amendment freedoms, December 25, 2022

“Moreover, Twitter was joining Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, and perhaps two dozen other firms in attending regular FITF-led gatherings. At that ‘industry meeting,’ companies often received an ‘OGA briefing,’ usually about foreign policy matters. ‘OGA’ is generally understood to be a euphemism for intelligence services in general, or the CIA in particular.”

Before the Christmas Eve filing, the FBI had denounced previous publishing of the Twitter Files as the work of “conspiracy theorists” whose “sole purpose” was “discrediting the agency.”

Taibbi noted: “If earlier reports made the Bureau unhappy, what reaction would this story inspire?”

That would not become clear until a May 24, 2023 letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel was published by House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, detailing the IRS investigation into Taibbi that was launched on Dec. 24, 2022.

“Ostensibly the case was about my 2018 tax return, about which even the IRS doesn’t claim to have contacted me for three years before this new ‘assign date,’ ” noted Taibbi, editor of the online magazine Racket on substack. “New details about my IRS case should unnerve any journalist, or any American, for that matter.”

The opening of the investigation preceded a visit to Taibbi’s home by an IRS agent on March 9, the day he testified in Congress about the Twitter Files and government censorship.

The IRS letter released by Jordan also states:

On January 27, 2023, the IRS assigned an agent to Mr. Taibbi’s case to initiate face-to-face contact. The IRS documents reflect that the case agent performed an extensive investigation of Mr. Taibbi, using publicly available search engines and commercial investigative software such as Anywho, Consumer Affairs, LexisNexis Accruint, and Google. The IRS’s dossier about Mr. Taibbi included information such as Mr. Taibbi’s voter registration records, whether he possessed a hunting or fishing license, whether he had a concealed weapons permit, and his telephone numbers.

“When the IRS checks to see if you have a carry permit and visits your home, at a time when they owe you money, it’s time to worry,” Taibbi said.

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