Journalist Matt Taibbi, who has been at the forefront of the Twitter Files revelations, has now been threatened with five years in jail by House Democrats after MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan accused Taibbi of lying under oath when it came to including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in his testimony before Congress.
Journalist Lee Fang posted a tweet on Thursday that included a recent letter from delegate from the Virgin Islands Stacey Plaskett, suggesting that Taibbi may be imprisoned for apparently lying under oath.
Lee tweeted: “Mehdi's viral deception that Taibbi lied under oath about DHS/CISA now has House Dems explicitly threatening Taibbi w/ imprisonment. Taibbi was accurate in this quote, yet here's a letter from Rep. Stacey Plaskett citing Mehdi to float a threat of 5 years of jail against Taibbi.”
Plaskett mentions Hasan in her letter, citing his recent interview with Taibbi, crediting Hasan with pointing out that Taibbi had deliberately said that CISA was working with the EIP to have social media posts taken down.
Plaskett wrote: "When you appeared before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Weaponizations, you told Congressman Stewart (R-UT): '[W]hat we see in The Twitter Files is that Twitter executives did not distinguish between DHS or CISA and this group EIP. For instance, we would see a communication that said, From CISA escalated by EIP. So they were essentially identifical in the eyes of the company...imagine that exists between, say, the FBI or the DHS or the GEC and these private companies is illusory and that what's more important is this constellation of kind of quasi private organizations that do this work.'"
She continued: "The above statements now seem to be contradicted by your own admission. On April 6, 2023, you appeared for an interview on the Mehdi Hasan Show on MSNBC. During that interview, Mr. Hasan pointed out that your March 9 tweet added a parenthetical [A] to the acronym CIS, changing the meaning of the term from 'Center for Internet Security' - a private organization - to 'Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.' This mistake is important because, by adding an 'A,' you weren't making a harmless spelling error. Rather, you removed from social media. When presented with this misinformation, you acknowledged that you had made 'an error' by intentionally altering the acronym CIS and you subsequently deleted your erroneous tweet."
She concluded: "Prior to your appearance before the subcommittee on March 9, you signed the Judiciary Committee's Truth in Testimony form, certifying that you understood that '[k]knowingly providing material false information to this committee/subcommittee, or knowingly concealing material information from this committee/subcommittee, is a crime." She went on to draw out the specific code that corresponded to Taibbi's apparent violation, finally saying: "Under federal perjury statute...providing false information is punishable by up to five years imprisonment."
However, Fang noted that Taibbi got the acronym wrong in a tweet that he soon corrected, but that his congressional testimony was correct. This distinction does not appear to be made in the accusations lodged against Taibbi.
This comes after it was recently reported that Fang had researched Hasan’s journalistic background, appearing to find an article in 2000 where Hasan has violated basic journalistic principles, plagiarizing whole paragraphs from a previous study on spanking children in an effort to pass it off as his own.
Hasan has not yet commented on the accusations and evidence that he overtly copied other journalist’s work and passed it off as his own.
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