Twitter founder takes aim at US deep state

Jack Dorsey’s apparent change of heart toward the FBI, CIA and NSA has set his successor Elon Musk speculating

©  Getty Images / Joe Raedle

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appeared to call out the US intelligence community in a cryptic tweet on Tuesday.

Splinter the CIA, NSA and FBI into a thousand pieces and scatter them into the winds,” he wrote, accompanied by a link to a portrait of former US president John F. Kennedy.

Dorsey’s tweet referenced a famous quote attributed to Kennedy, who supposedly vowed to “splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds” upon learning of the agency’s botched effort to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro, known as the Bay of Pigs disaster. However, it’s not entirely clear whether he uttered the oft-cited words at all, the only source is an anonymous Kennedy administration official who supposedly shared it with a New York Times reporter three years after the president’s assassination. 

Elon Musk, Dorsey’s successor at the helm of Twitter, responded to his tweet with a single exclamation point. Musk worked with a group of independent journalists to publish internal Twitter communications, proving the CIA and FBI had been exerting strong influence over content on the platform. Along with several other government entities, the two agencies were able to request the removal of individual users and the promotion or suppression of particular narratives.

While Musk has made a show of distancing himself from that status quo, including by firing general counsel James Baker, who formerly worked for the FBI, it is not known if the agencies retain some level of access.

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Many Twitter users questioned the sincerity of Dorsey’s apparent rejection of the FBI and CIA, arguing he allowed the agencies meddle in the platform while he ran it.

Twitter was one of the few social media platforms to resist participation in the NSA’s controversial PRISM surveillance program over a decade ago, according to a leaked slide from the agency made public by NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. PRISM gave the NSA a dedicated backdoor to the servers of Big Tech players like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple. 

A few of Dorsey’s followers appeared to interpret the tweet as an endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running on a platform that includes reining in intelligence agencies. He has publicly stated his belief that the CIA was involved in the murders of both his uncle (JFK) and his father (former US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Sr.).

Musk, for his part, appears to have thrown in his presidential lot with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, scheduling a Twitter Spaces for Wednesday in which the Republican is expected to officially announce his candidacy for president in 2024.


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