Jason Goodman
4 min readDec 22, 2022


President George W. Bush and a gaggle of neocon cronies delight in laying the groundwork for the destruction of the U.S. Constitution

Overcoming Legal Hurdles Takes a Village

The groundwork was laid by the George W. Bush Administration. In the wake of the national trauma of 9/11, the Patriot Act was passed under the guise of increased security. This unconstitutional statute called for the creation of the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, an interagency intelligence sharing organization led by the FBI. It also granted federal law enforcement new tools in their self-declared “war on terror”. For the first time since the signing of the Bill of Rights, federal agents were granted unilateral authority to surveil any person they deemed a national security threat without first establishing probable cause or providing any evidence to a judge. Due process was bypassed, the need for warrants ignored, and newly created National Security Letters decimated the Fourth Amendment.

No longer were We the People “secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”. The FBI and other Federal agencies could simply send a National Security Letter to your phone company or internet provider seeking any information associated with any account for any reason. Although National Security Letters do not have the same legal force and effect as Court Orders or properly issued search warrants, the practical impact is virtually identical with an historical record nearing 100% compliance by providers.

During her tenure as general counsel at the FBI, Valerie Caproni coined the phrase “Going Dark”. The term purported to describe an increasing proliferation of digital communications technologies and a widening gap in law enforcement’s ability to penetrate those technologies in the due course of criminal investigations. Things like end-to-end encryption and automatically decimated chat logs had investigators in the dark according to Caproni.

The FBI’s proposed solution was to create new legislation granting agencies unfettered access to all digital communications in real time. Setting aside the unrealistic network bandwidth and storage requirements of such a concept, the idea was controversial to say the least. Caproni and the FBI aimed to compel all technology companies to modify their products with “back doors” that would bypass primary security measures and allow federal investigators instant and full access to any account upon receipt of a National Security Letter.

Caproni would come under fire throughout her career for gross abuses of the process including the arbitrary creation of so called “exigent letters” which have no statutory basis in the Patriot Act and the reliance on false statements to open alleged counterintelligence investigations.

Caproni and her successors Andrew Weissman and James Baker went as far as suggesting modifications that amounted to hobbling the most sophisticated products available. These products’ creators admonished FBI luddites and articulated how the changes would dramatically weaken security and expose all users to data theft and hacking. Despite a fundamental lack of subject matter knowledge, for years the FBI continued to make demands that industry experts argued would pose too great a risk for everyone should they be compelled to comply.

A Decade of “Going Dark”

Nearly eight years after Valerie Caproni delivered an address at Lewis & Clark Law School on “Crimes, War Crimes, and the War on Terror”, the New York Times reported, “Obama Won’t Seek Access to Encrypted User Data”. Perhaps this was true of encrypted data, but perhaps this was just a lawyerly way of talking around a new cooperative plan to intercept data at the source, before it was encrypted or after it had been decrypted. Going back as far as 2005, Caproni had made the FBI’s position on “Going Dark” extremely clear, it was a top priority. The persistence with which the FBI pursued this agenda cannot be overstated, nor can the public resistance to it.

Would secretly planting FBI operatives directly inside Twitter allow agents to address management’s “Going Dark” concerns without the need to crack encryption keys or reveal their efforts to the public? Could such a cozy relationship indicate that Twitter had agreed to implement the long-sought FBI back door without informing unsuspecting users? Twitter’s new CEO has revealed emails indicating reimbursements to Twitter from the FBI for the fulfilment of requests related to investigations. While Twitter’s CEO may have incorrectly characterized the nature and purpose of the payments, it is not denied that the payments were made.

Was Twitter motivated to comply with FBI investigation requests by law or by financial incentives? Did the FBI need warrants to investigate, penetrate or terminate the private Twitter accounts of U.S. citizens? These and other questions remain open. Many may ask, would the FBI do something illegal? Would they take action even if it had no basis in law? House and Senate oversight of the FBI General Counsel’s Office and the Inspector General’s report on the matter indicate they were in a regular practice of doing exactly that.

Part four will reveal how the U.S. Government essentially became one with private industry when it infiltrated Twitter.



Jason Goodman

Jason Goodman is a documentary filmmaker, investigative journalist and founder of