11 May 2022

Nothing to See Here, Move Along

I am not a fan of either Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg, as my reader(s) are no doubt aware, but credit where credit is due:  They do a very good job of spying on and violating the privacy of their users.

As such it is kind of surprising that they did not have any inkling of the January 6 insurrection, and they did not report this information to the authorities.

Well, it turns out that they did know about the planned insurrection, and they did report it to the authorities, specifically the FBI.

The FBI, it seems did nothing about this, because the misbegotten child of J.Edgar Hoover was too concerned with pursuing peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters to deal with right wing terrorists.

There's a shocker:

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that seven federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies were aware of open source information on social media about “potential violence” planned for January 6, 2021. The report suggests that federal agencies had ample authority and information to anticipate and prepare for a violent assault on the Capitol.

The findings of the report, titled “Federal Agencies’ Use of Open Source Data and Related Threat Products Prior to January 6, 2021,” also raise questions about statements by FBI Director Christopher Wray in previous testimony to Congress. The report states that the representatives of at least two social media platforms – Facebook and Parler – told the GAO that their companies provided information to the FBI “regarding potential violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.”

With the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack set to kick off public hearings next month, the report may inform several lines of inquiry. Those include the failure of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take action on the threat, what legal authorizations are already in place for social media surveillance, how those authorities are used in practice, and what technical tools and resources federal agencies need to do their jobs. Looming over all of these questions is a broader set of concerns about civil liberties, and what some regard as bias in the way the federal government failed to act on the threat of violence from former President Donald Trump’s supporters.


The GAO also “interviewed representatives from three social media platforms, including two large ones—Facebook and Twitter—and a smaller one—Parler—to determine the extent to which they shared open source information with federal agencies.” While Parler previously revealed to congressional investigators that it sent specific warnings to the FBI about threats on its platform, including threats to kill politicians and the coordination of armed groups, the GAO report is the first to confirm that Facebook shared information with the FBI regarding potential violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6:


While the GAO report initially refers vaguely to “a federal agency” as the recipient of information “regarding potential violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6,” Parler’s letter was sent specifically to the FBI, the FBI is the only federal agency listed in a table as having “received data from social media platforms” directly, and the GAO goes on to say “Facebook officials noted that they shared information with the FBI before, during, and after January 6.”

There is a potential discrepancy between what Facebook and Parler told GAO about the information they gave the FBI, and what the FBI told the GAO. The report states that “according to FBI officials, the FBI reviewed social media posts, dated November 3, 2020, through January 5, 2021. FBI officials noted that its review of these posts did not reveal information specifically citing the ‘U.S. Capitol’ during this review period.” It is also puzzling that the FBI would come across no such references given that social media was replete with such content and other federal agencies collected and analyzed it (see also the bipartisan Senate report on such findings).

IMNSHO, this comes down to racism and cowardice.  The overwhelming majority of domestic terrorists in the United States over the past few decades has been right wing and white, but the FBI doesn't want to do their job, because the Republicans in Congress complain about them, and because they simply cannot imagine wypipo being terrorists.


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