CIA control social media
© ZeroHedgeTed Schlein, Pieter "Mudge" Zatko and Nina Jankowicz
While the CIA is strictly prohibited from spying on or running clandestine operations against American citizens on US soil, a bombshell new "Twitter Files" report reveals that a member of the Board of Trustees of InQtel - the CIA's mission-driving venture capital firm, along with "former" intelligence community (IC) and CIA analysts, were involved in a massive effort in 2021-2022 to take over Twitter's content management system, as Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag report over at Shellenberger's Public (subscribers can check out the extensive 6,800 word report here).

According to "thousands of pages of Twitter Files and documents," these efforts were part of a broader strategy to manage how information is disseminated and consumed on social media under the guise of combating 'misinformation' and foreign propaganda efforts - as this complex of government-linked individuals and organizations has gone to great lengths to suggest that narrative control is a national security issue.

According to the report, the effort also involved;
  • a long-time IC contractor and senior Department of Defense R&D official who spent years developing technologies to detect whistleblowers ("insider threats") like Edward Snowden and Wikileaks' leakers;
  • the proposed head of the DHS' aborted Disinformation Governance Board, Nina Jankowicz, who aided US military and NATO "hybrid war" operations in Europe;
  • Jim Baker, who, as FBI General Counsel, helped start the Russiagate hoax, and, as Twitter's Deputy General Counsel, urged Twitter executives to censor The New York Post story about Hunter Biden.
Nina Jankowicz
© XNina ('Scary Poppins') Jankowicz
Jankowicz (aka 'Scary Poppins'), previously tipped to lead the DHS's now-aborted Disinformation Governance Board, has been a vocal advocate for more stringent regulation of online speech to counteract 'rampant disinformation.' Jim Baker, in his capacity as FBI General Counsel and later as Twitter's Deputy General Counsel, advocated for and implemented policies that would restrict certain types of speech on the platform, including decisions that affected the visibility of politically sensitive content.

Furthermore, companies like PayPal, Amazon Web Services, and GoDaddy were mentioned as part of a concerted effort to de-platform and financially de-incentivize individuals and organizations deemed threats by the IC. This approach represents a significant escalation in the use of corporate cooperation to achieve what might essentially be considered censorship under the guise of national security.

Nina Jankowicz and The Alethea Group

Remember Nina? A huge fan of Christopher Steele - architect of the infamous Clinton-funded Dossier which underpinned the Trump-Russia hoax, and who joined the chorus of disinformation agents that downplayed the Hunter Biden laptop bombshell, Jankowicz previously served as a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, and advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry as part of the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship. She also oversaw the Russia and Belarus programs at the National Democratic Institute.
Jankowicz compares the lack of regulation of speech on social media to the lack of government regulation of automobiles in the 1960s. She calls for a "cross-platform" and public-private approach, so whatever actions are taken are taken by Google, Facebook, and Twitter, simultaneously.

Jankowicz points to Europe as the model for regulating speech. "Germany's NetzDG law requires social media companies and other content hosts to remove 'obviously illegal' speech within twenty-four hours," she says, "or face a fine of up to $50 million."

By contrast, in the US, she laments, "Congress has yet to pass a bill imposing even the most basic of regulations related to social media and election advertising." — Public
In a 2020 book, How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict, Jankowicz praises a NATO cyber security expert for having created a "Center of Excellence," a concept promoted by Renée Diresta of the Stanford Internet Observatory, in which she made the case for the (now failed) Disinformation Governance Board that Jankowicz would briefly head up.

One year later, Jankowicz began working with 'anti-disinformation' consulting firm, Althea Group, staffed by "former" IC analysts.

Althea notably came after ZeroHedge at one point, shopping a 'dossier' around which suggested we were allegedly contributing to "increased online panic" amid the monumental collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

The outlets they peddled said dossier to included Bloomberg - which elected to exclude ZeroHedge from their report following a brief email exchange. Eventually, one of their operatives dropped the dossier on Twitter, only to be mocked as a propagandist.

Their SVB thesis was debunked by a Federal Reserve report which admitted that its own regulatory failures contributed to the bank's collapse. We can only imagine what else they've cooked up about us behind closed doors.

Alethea notably secured $20 million in Series B financing led by Google Ventures.

Another Alethea Group operative until July 2021 was former CIA analyst, Cindy Otis, who wrote a book called True or False: A CIA Analyst's Guide to Spotting Fake News - in which she thanks Pieter "Mudge" Zatko - a notorious hacker who was hired by Twitter to "tackle everything from engineering missteps to misinformation," Reuters wrote at the time.

cindy otis book censorship alethea group
According to Jankowicz, "My full time employment with Alethea began September 13, 2021. Ms. Otis left Alethea prior to that period. To my knowledge, she has not been employed with Alethea since that time."

"My work with Alethea Group as a consultant (summer 2021) was narrowly focused on my subject matter expertise related to Russia," she continued. "I conducted Russian language translation and provided cultural analysis. When I joined Alethea as an employee (fall 2021) my work was entirely focused on public products: Changes to Alethea's website, editing public reports, liaising with media, etc."

Is Nina lying?

According to Shellenberger et. al, "that claim contradicts Alethea's Statement of Work contract with Twitter, which lists her as "Technical Research Director" for work relating to Twitter's management of misinformation during the 2020 election, and specifically a "retrospective analysis of how then President Trump or other key figures may have violated Twitters [sic] policies, or otherwise leveraged the platform in a way that may have contributed to key events..."
Alethea Group founder, Lisa Kaplan, told us that Jankowicz "was never given the title Technical Research Director, that is a reference to a labor category for a contract." Added Kaplan, "We respect client confidentiality and do not discuss relationships with our customers. In reviewing Nina's timesheets she did provide support to one client that I cannot disclose, however I can confirm that while she was employed as the Director for External Affairs, Nina never conducted work at Alethea on behalf of Twitter."

When shown the Statement of Work listing her as "Supplier Personnel," Jankowicz said, "I have never seen this document before. A statement of work is generally a speculative document that informs clients of potential staffing and work plans. They are usually crafted to allow contractors a degree of flexibility in implementation by listing staff even if they are not assigned to a particular project in case they might do future work for that project. I assume this is what happened in this case."

In fact, the Statement of Work between Alethea and Twitter was a formal contract between the two firms, signed by Alethea's Founder and CEO and Twitter's Senior Director and Associate General Counsel, and the contract specifies, "Any changes to the above listed Personnel must be approved by Twitter in writing." There is no record in the Twitter Files of any change to the project's personnel.
— Public
Jankowicz defended herself, telling Public: "Ms. Otis and I were friends and colleagues prior to my short stint there and remain friends and colleagues. Yes, I knew Ms. Otis had worked — emphasis on the past tense — at the CIA. That does not constitute a 'relationship' with the intelligence community."

© GettyPieter "Mudge" Zatko
Following a phishing attack on Twitter employees in July of 2020 which resulted in Joe Biden's account tweeting "I am giving back to the community. All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000," along with a crypto wallet address (similar fake tweets were sent from the accounts of Barack Obama, Michael Bloomberg and Elon Musk," 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark was arrested.

Three months later, Jack Dorsey wrote in an email: "Mudge signed."
mudge dorsey twitter censorship agreement
Less than three months later, Zatko made his first big recommendation to Twitter execs: "hire the Alethea Group."
mudge social media censorship email alethea group
"I feel an external investigation may be quite valuable," he said over the company's Slack channel. "I'd recommend Alethea group for the disinformation angle."

Twitter authorized the move. Several weeks later, Zatko suggested that Twitter's legal team hire Alethea for a report focusing on Jan. 6.

Full text:

"We can draw a straight line... between the initial 'Stop the Steal' narratives and organizing to what ended up happening on the 6th."

Alethea's assessment of Twitter reflects the view of its CEO, Kaplan, that online misinformation leads to violence.

On March 11, 2021, the same day Baker flags the risk of working with Alethea without its law firm, Kaplan speaks on a panel at Harvard University's Berkman School. While there, she blames misinformation on social media for the January 6 riot, and urges greater censorship.

Kaplan says Alethea Group flags misinformation for social media companies so it can be censored. She says "one option" is to "call the social media platforms and they say, 'social media misinformation for the January 6 riot,'" but that Alethea does something better, which is to use "early detection" to "catch narratives when they start and we're able to then track them and understand how they may be influencing individuals and seeking to change individuals behavior."

January 6 was "an insurrection attempt," says Kaplan, "We can draw a straight line from some of the narratives that were happening in March, saying that the election would be rigged, that there would be political violence.... The throughline you can draw between the initial 'Stop the Steal' narratives and organizing to what ended up happening on the 6th."
She says Alethea will recommend filing lawsuits against people and "seek damages" of a punitive form. The goal is to stop opponents from "narrative building"

In response to our request for comment, Kaplan told us, "I worked in the United States Senate for a period of time. I have never worked directly for a US government agency, including the Intelligence Community. As this is true for both my time in college and after college, I suppose my relationship with the US Intelligence Community - or lack thereof - remains unchanged."

Kaplan did not disclose to us how many contracts Alethea has had with US government agencies, writing, "We hold client confidentiality in the highest regard and do not disclose our customer relationships."

"As folks can understand," he wrote on Feb. 4, 2021, "there's a lot still going on around Jan 6th and the 2020 election in general. Alethea is a boutique consultancy that specializes on disinformation and counter-messaging operations. They have been working with myself and Yoel [Roth]."

Meanwhile, on March 24, 2021, Zatko emailed a 12-page report pushing for more government-linked censorship - suggesting that "The organizations and people behind this recommendation have the connection [sic] to get this in front of the right people in the administration."

mudge censorship social media biden
The report is co-authored by Aspen Institute's Vivian Schiller, who led the "pre-bunking" of the Hunter Biden laptop story, and Hamilton68 hoax author Clint Watts, and is published by the Mossavar-Rahmani Center at the Harvard Kennedy School and NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.
— Public
Then it came out that Zatko, who pushed Alethea, "had engaged with members of US intelligence agencies..." As Public notes, "Attitudes toward Zatko would be quite different two years later."
Zatko turned whistleblower, sued the company, and settled for $7.75 million. He then filed a complaint with the Justice Department, SEC, and FTC, alleging Twitter executives had misled the government, been negligent in protecting user data, and had violated a 2011 consent decree with the FTC.

Somebody leaked Zatko's complaint to the Washington Post, which reached out to Twitter for comment on August 19, 2022.

In a shared Google Doc, dated August 21, 2022, called "Comms Statements/Tracking," Twitter executives fine-tuned the language for responding to the news media about Zatko's allegations.

Buried deep within that discussion was this revelatory sentence:

"Without the knowledge or support of management or the Board, Twitter learned that Zatko had engaged with members of US intelligence agencies and sought to enter a formal agreement that would allow him to work with them and provide information to them."
mudge twitter censorship vijaya gadda email

CIA, In-Q-Tel, And Alethea

In late 2022, Alethea received $10 million from Ballistic Ventures, whose general partner is Ted Schlein. Ted "provides counsel to the U.S. intelligence community, serves on the Board of Trustees at InQTel [the CIA's mission-driven venture capital firm] and was recently named as a board member of the CISA Cybersecurity Advisory Committee."
ted schlein homeland security
© DHS Photo by Benjamin ApplebaumTed Schlein Member, Homeland Security Advisory Council

In 2022, IQT published a report describing its "Disinformation Workshop," which recommended several activities similar to those Alethea has offered, including "Track the confluence of bad narratives."
IQT censorship social media twitter
Schlein can neither confirm nor deny...
According to the Wall Street Journal, a full one-third of IQT investments were secret as of 2016. The Journal also reported that Schlein had at least one connection to a firm in which IQT invested, and that was over seven years ago.

"I do not know Zatko, Jankowicz or Otis. Lisa is the CEO of Alethea and I serve on her board of directors," Schlein told us. He added that he is not aware of any relationship between Alethea and the IC and that he has no operational role in the firm.

"I get the feeling that Alethea is a byproduct of Ted Schlein," a high-tech entrepreneur told us, "and the CEO is merely a titular head....Without meaningful experience, it's not clear to me how [Lisa Kaplan] received $10m in a series A round."

In March 2022, the Department of Homeland Security made Schlein a member of its advisory council.
— Public
Here's Kaplan on promoting aggressive censorship:

Full text:

"We have to trust the rules and the systems that are governing us."

On February 21, 2022, at Colby College, Alethea's Kaplan again promotes an aggressive censorship vision, including punishments for people who spread misinformation, and says "we have to trust" election rules.

"I think we can get to the point where the government's doing everything that we think it can do within our comfort zone as a democracy," she says. "But I think that we will need private companies to step up."

Kaplan says free speech threatens democracy. "I continue to be concerned about what it means that that segment of the population doesn't buy into our democratic system. And so putting politics aside when we're talking about democracy, we have to trust it. We have to trust the rules and the systems that are governing us."

Kaplan says 20% of Alethea's business was with the government.

Kaplan also says Alethea Group sometimes donates time to social media companies.

"Sometimes we do catch things out in the wild and we'll bring that to companies. We don't, like, get paid for that when we do that. But, like, we'll do it if it's something that's pretty egregious that they think they should be aware of."

Kaplan points out the threat of election misinformation to political instability in Brazil. A few months later, in July 2022, Twitter hires Alethea to "Assist Counsel with fact gathering and analysis of misinformation/disinformation threats related to the 2022 Brazil election."
On August 4, 2022, Roth tells a colleague that Alethea is "providing services to us at a more than 50% discount over rack rate (a savings of approximately $50K for the specific cases here)..." for a Brazil misinformation analysis.

We are now approximately halfway through Public's report. As X user Sean Michael Murray accurately observes: "It's such a well sourced report... and there's so much context to summarize in this post, it's best to read it.."

So, click here and subscribe to Public if you haven't already to read the rest - including:
  • The effort to infiltrate PayPal, GoDaddy and Amazon Web Services
  • Zatko's engagement with the CIA
  • Who is Zatko, really?
  • Althea in, Zatko out
  • Kaplan's "aggressive censorship vision"
  • "The Big Boss"
  • First Amendment vs. "Information War"
  • CODA