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Matt Taibbi says the Left's source for Russian disinformation bots were accounts of 'real Americans'

Matt Taibbi joined "One Nation with Brian Kilmeade" to reveal details behind the Russian disinformation bot narrative, saying it involved "very few Russians" if at all.

Substack writer Matt Taibbi joined "One Nation with Brian Kilmeade" to break down the latest installment of the Twitter Files focused on "basically" fraud in the Russian disinformation bot narrative.

Democrats and some media outlets used research from Hamilton 68, a liberal think tank's project, to push the narrative of Russian disinformation bots on Twitter, he found, saying it was the source of "probably hundreds of news stories" that were "allegedly tracking hundreds of Russian bots."

"Their secret sauce was a list of 600 accounts they said were linked to Russian influence," he added.

"Well, in the Twitter files, we found the list, and the list, let's just say, is mostly bereft of Russians, but is full of real Americans, and what they basically did is a fraud. They took ordinary conversations of ordinary conservatives mostly, and essentially just called it Russian influence."


Fox News host Brian Kilmeade asked Taibbi to unwind how Hamilton 68 would "take a trend credited to a Russian bot and diminish its quality." 

Taibbi said that key was in the Hamilton 68 Dashboard. 

"They built this tool called the Hamilton 68 Dashboard that purported to track Russian bots. Again, it was based on 644 accounts, which we now know are mostly organic accounts, mostly real people, mostly in the West." 

"But they would say these accounts are now following, let's just say, the #FireMcMaster, or #ReleaseTheMemo, or #IStandWithLaura or #ParklandShooting, and then you would see a flood of news stories coming out in the next day, maybe in The New York Times, maybe The Washington Post, maybe CNN, maybe MSNBC that would say Russian bots are supporting this hashtag," he said. "In reality, there were no Russians or there were very few Russians, let's put it that way. Most of these were actual real Americans who were just doing ordinary conversations on Twitter."

Hamilton 68 was operated by Alliance for Securing Democracy, a think tank founded in 2017, and led by former FBI special agent and MSNBC contributor Clint Watts. 

Alliance for Securing Democracy's advisory council includes Clinton ally John Podesta, Obama-era acting CIA director Michael Morell, former Obama official Michael McFaul and The Bulwark editor-at-large Bill Kristol, according to its website.


When asked about the impact Hamilton 68 had on American politics, Taibbi said "these stories about Russian bots influencing this or that politician had an enormous cultural and political impact over a course of years in America."

"Although conservatives were definitely targeted and in fact Twitter employees talked about that, how this was a site that would take ordinary conversations between conservatives and accuse them of being Russians," Taibbi continued. "You can see that in my thread. But it also affected Democrats like Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders, so this was a site that basically went after people, anybody who was a critic of the Democratic Party, be it on the left or right."

The Twitter Files have been a series of installments by Twitter CEO Elon Musk, first released in December. 

Independent journalists have addressed various controversies involving the platform and its suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020, the existence of shadow-banning and its decision to ban former President Donald Trump. 

Alliance for Securing Democracy put out a statement about a list of claims against it outlining its methodology.

"Networks were selected based on their engagement with content ‘generated by attributable Russian media and influence operations,’" it said.

To the claim Hamilton 68 "will take conversations in conservative circles on Twitter and accuse them of being Russian," the organization wrote on its site, "This claim is not supported by the data." 

Fox News Digital's Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report. 

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