A new biography of Elon Musk by biographer Walter Isaacson released this past week reveals how Elon Musk found out that former FBI general counsel Jim Baker was overseeing Twitter’s legal department. For any naysayers out there that don’t believe the giant tech company formerly known as Twitter was an extension of the FBI, they can no longer hide under delusion.
Investigative journalist Bari Weiss was researching the company’s books after Elon Musk made good on his promise of allowing select journalists to dig through them once he took over the company. The journalists’ work turned out to be the salacious “Twitter Files” by former Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi, whose first installment revealed that the FBI and other government agencies were pressuring Twitter to suppress disfavored political content.
When Weiss showed up to continue the reporting, she made the revelation that Baker, was actively trying to prevent Musk’s transparency efforts. Baker, the former FBI general counsel under Director James Comey, played a pivotal role in Twitter’s decision in October 2020 to suppress the distribution of the Hunter Biden laptop story written by the New York Post.
National Review reports of the biography’s description of the occurrence:
“As Weiss pushed the legal department to process more searches for her, she got a call from the company’s deputy general counsel, who said his name was Jim,” biographer Walter Isaacson writes. Asked for his last name, he said: “Baker.”
“My jaw dropped,” Weiss told Isaacson, reflecting on the discovery. After her chat with Baker, Weiss texted Musk: “What the f***?” “You’re like asking the guy to do searches on himself? This makes no f***ing sense.”
Baker’s reputation with the FBI, and his involvement in the bureau’s probe into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, raised serious ethical concerns. The revelation made Musk irate. “It’s like asking Al Capone to, like, look into his own taxes,” the Tesla founder told Isaacson.
Musk reportedly summoned Baker to a meeting shortly afterward, where the two clashed “over what privacy guarantees were mandated by a consent decree between Twitter and the Federal Trade Commission.” Following the conversation, Baker was “promptly fired,” Isaacson writes.
“I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked,” Baker wrote at the time after company executives asked if Twitter could “truthfully claim” that banning the laptop story was “part of the policy.”
“At this stage, however, it’s reasonable for us to assume that they may have been and that caution is warranted,” Baker added. Taibbi later published a disclaimer informing readers that the first Twitter Files revelations were vetted by Baker “without knowledge of new management.”
“The news that Baker was reviewing the ‘Twitter files’ surprised everyone involved, to say the least,” Taibbi wrote at the time. “New Twitter chief Elon Musk acted quickly to ‘exit’ Baker Tuesday.”