The FBI colluded with a Ukrainian intelligence agency in an effort to disrupt Russian disinformation campaigns by flagging social media accounts in a failed effort that ensnared a verified Russian-language U.S. State Department account and others, the House Judiciary Committee said in a report released Monday.
The report said the FBI partnered with the SBU, one of Ukraine’s intelligence agencies, to flag the accounts believed to have spread Russian disinformation. Both agencies flagged American accounts for removal, as well as those belonging to American journalists, the report said.
The FBI and SBU requested the removal or suspension of the accounts expressing pro-Ukrainian views or criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the report said.
Fox News Digital reached out to the FBI regarding the report but has not yet heard back.
“Regardless of its intended purpose in endorsing the SBU’s requests, the FBI had no legal justification for facilitating the censorship of Americans’ protected speech on social media,” the report said. “In contrast to the Biden Administration’s stated support for Ukraine, the FBI, on behalf of the SBU, flagged Americans’ accounts and posts that were critical of Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
The SBU was previously infiltrated by a network of Russian collaborators, sympathizers, and double agents, according to the report. Furthermore, the FBI appeared to not vet the American social media accounts or did so and carried out the requests anyway, the panel said.
The committee said the SBU’s motives for flagging the accounts came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s decision to fire the head of SBU in 2022 as the agency was “compromised by a network of Russian collaborators, sympathizers, and double agents.”
The FBI relayed censorship requests from the SBU to Google and YouTube, the report said, with senior employee on Google’s cybersecurity team saying they were “deluged with various requests” for the removal of content following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The employee testified that the primary sources of these requests for censorship were the Ukrainian government, other Eastern European governments, the European Union, and the European Commission,” the report said. “The employee further testified that the U.S. ‘Department of Justice would route [censorship] requests from foreign governments.’”
An employee for Meta, the parent of Facebook, spoke with the FBI about establishing “a 24/7 channel” for emergency requests.
“The censorship requests appear to have been driven, at least in part, by the SBU’s quest for self-preservation,” the report said.
The report came two days before FBI Director Christopher Wray is expected to testify before the GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee.
The hearing will put Wray face-to-face with several Republican lawmakers who have accused him of politically weaponizing the FBI against churches, parents and political opponents of the Biden administration.
Fox News’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.