FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on Tuesday, so fireworks weren’t at all unexpected when it came time for that committee’s ranking Republican, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, to ask questions.
Predictably, the exchange on the collusion of government and social media to limit speech did not disappoint.
Paul confronted Wray on whether or not the FBI paid Twitter around $3 million for content moderation, an allegation that came to light late last year with the release of the “Twitter files” documents.
Kentucky Sen. @RandPaul to FBI Director Chris Wray:
“Did the FBI pay Twitter money to moderate content?”
Wray, basically: “iT wUz An eXpEnsE rEimBuRseMeNt!” pic.twitter.com/XxcJFLukza
— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) October 31, 2023
“Did the FBI pay Twitter money to moderate content moderation?” Paul asked.
“I’m not aware of us paying money to moderate content there or anywhere else,” Wray responded.
“What was the $3 million for that the FBI gave that’s been revealed in the ‘Twitter files’ which has been characterized by those writing the ‘Twitter files’ as payment for content moderation?” Paul pressed before asking Wray directly if he was “aware of the payment.”
“I am not aware of that specific payment but I can tell you that when it comes to payments, going back well over four decades when we are required by federal law, when a company like in this instance a provider goes through expenses to produce information, we are required to reimburse them for those expenses, and so I think a lot of the questions about payments revolve around exactly that.”
Paul went on to grill Wray as well as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on whether or not government agencies are actively engaged in attempting to censor social media content about issues like vaccine and mask efficacy, Hunter Biden’s laptop, and other issues which, according to Paul, “have nothing to do with national security,” a charge they both denied.
Just Now: Senator Rand Paul grills DHS Secretary Mayorkas & FBI Director Wray about whether or not they’re still colluding with social media companies to censor Americans pic.twitter.com/GvvRXnLwcX
— Te𝕏asLindsay™ (@TexasLindsay_) October 31, 2023