Report: ‘Hamilton 68’ Falsely Labeled David Horowitz a Russian ‘Bot’

David Horowitz (Anacleto Rapping/Los Angeles Times via Getty)
Anacleto Rapping/Los Angeles Times via Getty

Journalist Matt Taibbi has published an exposé of a left-wing project called “Hamilton 68” that falsely labeled hundreds of Twitter accounts as Russian “bots” — including that of well-known conservative David Horowitz.

As Breitbart News reported on Friday, citing Taibbi’s reporting as part of the “#TwitterFiles” investigation:

The latest batch of the Twitter Files shows that senior officials at the company, including the much-maligned Yoel Roth, were shocked at false allegations that American and British users of the platform were part of Russian influence operations.

The allegations came from Hamilton 68, a “dashboard” claiming to identify Russia-linked accounts on Twitter that was funded by the Alliance for Securing Democracy.

The project was led by Clint Watts, a former counterintelligence official at the FBI. The ASD advisory board at the time included former NSA chief Michael Chertoff, who was tapped to review the Biden Administration’s “disinformation governance board” last year, former Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, and arch-neoconservative Bill Kristol.

Twitter was aware that Hamilton 68’s allegations were mostly false. Meanwhile, the Hamilton 68 project allegedly provided the basis for articles in the mainstream media smearing conservatives, as Taibbi noted:

If one goes by volume alone, this oft-cited neoliberal think-tank that spawned hundreds of fraudulent headlines and TV news segments may go down as the single greatest case of media fabulism in American history. Virtually every major news organization in America is implicated, including NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and the Washington PostMother Jones alone did at least 14 stories pegged to the group’s “research.” Even fact-checking sites like Politifact and Snopes cited Hamilton 68 as a source.

Taibbi noted that Horowitz — a former left-wing radical-turned-conservative who founded the David Horowitz Freedom Center — was among several Americans smeared by the project, including some left-wing voices:

Even Twitter execs were stunned to read who was listed. The names ranged from well-known media figures like David Horowitz to conservatives like Dennis Michael Lynch and progressives like Consortium editor Joe Lauria. It’s crucial to understand that the list captured not just Trump supporters but a range of political dissidents, including leftists, anarchists and humorists.

Critics are calling on the media publications who relied on Hamilton 68 in past coverage to publish corrections.

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 new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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