Journalist Aaron Mate of Grayzone News disclosed this collusion in a June 7 article on his Substack. His article focused on a March 27, 2022 email sent by FBI Special Agent Aleksandr Kobzanets to two Twitter executives – one named Marlena and Yoel Roth, then the head of trust and safety. The agent included four of his colleagues in the FBI in the exchange.
Kobaznets attached a list of 163 accounts to his email to the two Twitter executives. According to him, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) – Ukraine's main intelligence agency – suspected the accounts of "spreading fear and disinformation." Kobzanets, the assistant legal attache at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, also attached a memo from the SBU asking Twitter to remove the accounts and hand over their user data.
According to the Ukrainian agency, the 163 Twitter profiles have been "used to disseminate disinformation and fake news to inaccurately reflect events in Ukraine" and to "justify war crimes of the Russian authorities on the territory of the Ukrainian state in violation of international law."
"To stop Russian aggression on the information front, we kindly ask you to take urgent measures to block these Twitter accounts and provide us with user data specified during registration," the SBU appealed.
According to Mate, the list provided by Kobzanets extended to the members of the media – and even included his name. Twitter nevertheless agreed to review the accounts for "inauthenticity" in its reply. However, it raised concerns with the inclusion of Mate and other "American and Canadian journalists" in the list.
"If granted, the users on the list would not only have been banned from Twitter – but had their phone number, date of birth and email address disclosed to both the FBI and SBU," the independent journalist said." (Related: FBI helps Ukraine censor Twitter users and obtain their info, including journalists.)
Inside the social media company, Roth forwarded the FBI special agent's message to two colleagues – William Nuland and Marlena Wisniak. It is unknown whether Wisniak is the same Marlena who received Kobzanets' initial March 2022 email.
"This is the output of our meeting with the FBI," Roth wrote. "The list of accounts is a mixed bag; there's some state media mixed in with a bunch of other stuff. But given the context, I think a deep dive here [is] warranted."
All three officials have left Twitter as of writing, with Roth leaving the company in November 2022. Wisniak joined the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law after her stint at Twitter. Meanwhile, Nuland joined Facebook's Threat Intelligence Team after he departed from Twitter.
Mate pointed out that Nuland happens to be the half-brother of Victoria Nuland, undersecretary of state for political affairs at the Department of State. The official had an integral role in the U.S. backing the February 2014 revolution that removed then-Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych from power. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a pro-Washington official, was then installed.
The independent journalist emailed Kobzanets, asking if he had vetted Kyiv's censorship request list before sending it to Twitter. He also asked if Roth's reply about the FBI wanting to censor journalists on Ukraine's behalf prompted any review or revision of his assistance to Ukrainian intelligence. The special agent did not answer.
The FBI's National Press Office also declined to answer his questions. A spokesperson for the federal law enforcement agency replied to Mate: "While we appreciate your inquiry, as a matter of practice – we do not confirm, deny, or otherwise comment on specific interactions nor confirm the veracity of correspondence."
According to the journalist, 34 accounts from the 163 listed by the SBU were suspended and 20 no longer exist. The rest of the accounts Kyiv wanted to censor remain active, he added.
Visit Censorship.news for more stories about Ukraine wanting to censor journalists.
Watch this video explaining why the FBI is now the modern-day equivalent of the Soviet-era KGB.
This video is from the mcr channel on Brighteon.com.