House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) pressured Twitter to censor the account of Paul Sperry, an investigative journalist who first published the name of the so-called impeachment “whistleblower.”
In September 2019, Schiff announced that his committee had reached an agreement with the “whistleblower,” who allegedly filed a complaint about President Donald Trump’s July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, to testify in his inquiry, which became the impeachment investigation. But Schiff never produced the whistleblower and later claimed, falsely, that the whistleblower had a “right” to anonymity.
Schiff also lied about his contact with the “whistleblower,” first claiming that his committee had never spoken to the whistleblower, then admitting — after a New York Times report to the contrary — that they had done so.
Later, Sperry published an article at RealClearInvestigations identifying the “whistleblower” as a CIA analyst named Eric Ciaramella, who had worked at the Trump White House before returning to the CIA. Sperry also published other articles identifying links between Schiff’s committee and aides who had worked at the Trump White House and who had been “holdovers” from the Obama administration. The media and the tech industry suppressed the name of the whistleblower, and Schiff refused to allow Republicans to ask questions about the whistleblower during the impeachment investigation. Even Chief Justice John Roberts played along, censoring a question from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) during the Senate impeachment trial about the whistleblower. On Tuesday, in the latest installment of the “Twitter files,” investigative journalist Matt Taibbi produced email evidence showing that Schiff’s office had asked Twitter, in writing, to censor Sperry after the November 2020 election, claiming (without evidence) that Sperry had spread “QAnon conspiracies” on the platform.
27.They also received an astonishing variety of requests from officials asking for individuals they didn’t like to be banned. Here, the office for Democrat and House Intel Committee chief Adam Schiff asks Twitter to ban journalist Paul Sperry: pic.twitter.com/SXI1ekqi13
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 3, 2023
Sperry told the New York Post Tuesday that Schiff’s claims were false and that he had never promoted QAnon:
In an email Tuesday, Sperry told The Post, “I have never promoted any ‘QAnon conspiracies.’ Ever. Not on Twitter. Not anywhere.”
“Schiff was just angry I outed his impeachment whistleblower and tried to get me banned,” he said. “I challenge Schiff to produce evidence to back up his defamatory remarks to Twitter.”
Sperry also said, “This is a scurrilous smear, but par for the course for the unscrupulous Chairman Schiff.”
Schiff appears to have attempted to use the post-election controversies as cover for punishing Sperry for his undisputed reporting, a flagrant violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Twitter initially refused the request, according to Taibbi, though agreeing to review Sperry’s account. Sperry was later banned without warning by Twitter last August after the FBI raided Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.