Months after becoming Twitter’s deputy general counsel, former top FBI lawyer James Baker appeared to support the social media site’s move to suppress the New York Post’s report on Hunter Biden’s laptop in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, according to a string of messages published Friday evening by journalist Matt Taibbi.
“I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked. At this stage, however, it is reasonable for us to assume that they may have been and that caution is warranted,” Baker wrote during a discussion among top officials at Twitter about the decision to limit the reach of the story under the site’s “hacked materials” policy.
“There are some facts that indicate the materials may have been hacked, while there are others indicating that the computer was either abandoned and-or the owner consented to allow the repair shop to access it for at least some purposes,” he continued. “We simply need more information.”
28. To which former Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker again seems to advise staying the non-course, because “caution is warranted”: pic.twitter.com/tg4D0gLWI6
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 3, 2022
No time stamp was given for this particular message, but it appears to have been sent soon after Twitter initially clamped down on its users’ ability to share the Post’s story about the laptop.
According to Taibbi, the decision to crack down on the reporting “was made at the highest levels of the company, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role.” The journalist also described Baker as the “former” deputy general counsel at Twitter, although Baker’s own Twitter biography still states he holds the role.
The New York Post said it obtained a copy of the laptop’s hard drive from Rudy Giuliani after Trump ally Steve Bannon notified the publication of the laptop’s existence. The laptop had been seemingly abandoned at a repair shop in Delaware, and the owner of the shop shared it Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.
Baker served as general counsel at the FBI from 2014 to December 2017, when he was reassigned by FBI Director Christopher Wray, according to The Washington Post.
Baker came under criminal investigation in 2017 over allegations that he made unauthorized leaks to the media, but the probe ended that same year with no charges. Baker also came under fire for his role in securing the FISA warrant against one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page, a process marred by the bureau’s reliance on British former intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s now-discredited anti-Trump dossier.
House Judiciary Republicans’ Twitter account reacted to Taibbi’s post mentioning Baker with “Russiagate Jim Baker.”
One of the authors of the New York Post’s censored “smoking-gun email” report, Emma-Jo Morris, shared a screenshot of a federal subpoena showing the laptop and hard drive had been seized by the FBI, asking whether Baker did “not recognize this document that the Post published in the first story of the Laptop from Hell series?”
Did Jim Baker, former Twitter Deputy Counsel and former Senior FBI, not recognize this document that the Post published in the first story of the Laptop from Hell series? pic.twitter.com/BN67yPijPt
— Emma-Jo Morris (@EmmaJoNYC) December 3, 2022