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During 2022, both the FBI and the Ukrainian secret service SBU requested Twitter to censor 163 journalists and media outlets, including Canadian journalist Aaron Maté, who had been critical of the situation, – investigation of Gateway Pundit. 

In March 2022, an FBI Special Agent named Aleksandr Kobzanets, Assistant Legal Attaché at the US Embassy in Kyiv, contacted Yoel Roth, the former head of Twitter’s “Trust and Safety” department. Kobzanets shared a list provided by the SBU, Ukraine’s intelligence agency, containing 163 Twitter accounts suspected of spreading fear and disinformation. The SBU accused these accounts of distorting events in Ukraine, justifying Russian war crimes, and violating international law. Among the accounts listed were those of mainstream Russian media outlets such as Russia Today, TASS, Izevestia, and Komsomolskaya Pravda, as well as Canadian journalist Aaron Maté from The Grayzone.

The SBU requested urgent action from Twitter to block these accounts and provide user data associated with them. The SBU expressed gratitude for the existing level of cooperation. Kobzanets copied five other FBI agents, including Elvis Chan from the San Francisco Field Office, who regularly interacted with major tech companies and other government agencies, as revealed by the Twitter Files, which exposed coordination efforts to suppress the Hunter Biden Laptop Story.

Yoel Roth, the former Head of Trust and Safety at Twitter, responded to Kobzanets and his FBI colleagues, assuring them that the reported accounts would be reviewed according to Twitter’s rules. Roth mentioned that the list included a few accounts belonging to American and Canadian journalists like Aaron Maté. He stated that Twitter’s review would primarily focus on identifying potential inauthenticity, emphasizing that journalists with a pro-Russian perspective on the conflict would not be found in violation of the rules unless there was additional context suggesting covert or deceptive associations with a government. Roth welcomed any further information or context that could be provided in those areas.

In response, Kobzanets expressed doubt that there would be any additional information or context to provide. 

In March 2022, Yoel Roth, the Twitter “Information Operations Lead, Trust and Safety,” reached out to William Nuland, who happened to be the half-brother of Victoria Nuland, the Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Roth informed William Nuland that the list of accounts provided by the FBI during their recent meeting was a combination of state media and other content. Given the context, Roth believed it was important to conduct a thorough investigation and sought William Nuland’s guidance on the best approach to proceed.

William Nuland, the half-brother of Victoria Nuland, shares a family connection with her as both are children of renowned Yale surgeon Sherwin Nuland. In a FOIA release, it was revealed that as early as 2016, William Nuland had been in communication with Victoria Nuland regarding cybersecurity matters. This communication took place during the time when the Clinton campaign was seeking to uncover potential Russian involvement in connection with Donald Trump.

During the period of October 2015 to May 2016, while presumably working on behalf of the Democrats, William Nuland’s department at Dell SecureWorks monitored the hacking attempts made by the Russian hacker group Threat Group-4127 targeting Gmail accounts associated with the Clinton campaign and the Democrats. On July 27, 2016, William Nuland corresponded with Victoria Nuland to update her on these hacking attempts.

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