A peculiar and frustrating aspect of our current political moment is that, while the public is perhaps more informed than ever regarding the corrupt behavior of the ruling class, there is rarely anything that can be done about such behavior. This widening gulf between awareness and accountability has generated massive demand for easy solutions. The uncomfortable truth is that it takes far less time to learn about political behavior than to fix it, especially when fixing the problem goes beyond simply winning a presidential election and requires that one create a massive bureaucratic, legal, and financial infrastructure to match that of one’s political enemies, who have had nearly a half-century head start (at least).

All of this is to say that we must enthusiastically take note of and celebrate the rare occasions on which elements of our corrupt regime actually suffer accountability. As it so happens, one of the most notorious censorship think tanks, the Stanford Internet Observatory, is shutting down in the aftermath of months of devastating exposés detailing the organization’s collusion with the federal government to illegally censor First Amendment-protected speech.

The Washington Post:

The Stanford Internet Observatory, which published some of the most influential analysis of the spread of false information on social media during elections, has shed most of its staff and may shut down amid political and legal attacks that have cast a pall on efforts to study online misinformation.

Just three staffers remain at the Observatory, and they will either leave or find roles at Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center, which is absorbing what remains of the program, according to eight people familiar with the developments, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

The Election Integrity Partnership, a prominent consortium run by the Observatory and a University of Washington team to identify viral falsehoods about election procedures and outcomes in real time, has updated its webpage to say its work has concluded.

The Stanford Cyber Policy Center has attempted to minimize the public disgrace, assuring the public that the Stanford Internet Observatory has not shut down but merely “faces funding issues.” Nice try, but there’s simply no way to sugar-coat the fact that the Observatory is in shambles after the departure of two of its most disgraced operatives, Alex Stamos and Renee DiResta, both of whom the Washington Post piece makes clear have been buried in lawsuits for their nefarious and potentially illegal censorship activity during their tenure at the Observatory.

For those who need a little refresher, one of the dirty little secrets that came to light over the past year is the extent to which the censorship industry was not simply propelled by censorious left-wing radicals within the private sector tech companies, though that of course was part of the story. At times, the government also tried its hand directly in the censorship business, the most notorious example of which must be the Department of Homeland Security’s ill-fated Disinformation Governance Board led by disgraced Nina Jankowicz.

READ MORE: Biden’s “Minister of Truth” Nina Jankowicz Participated in Secret NATO-Funded Cabal to Subvert Western Democracies Using Disinformation as Cover

The sweet spot of the censorship industry, however, lies in the gray zone of a public-private partnership between government agencies that want to censor with plausible deniability and private sector NGO cutouts that exist to do the government’s censorship dirty work for it. This was precisely the story of CISA, formally known as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, housed within the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS is, of course, generally the tip of the spear when it comes to corrupted and politically weaponized components of the national security state. CISA played a direct and critical role in flagging First Amendment protected speech as “misinformation,” thereby contributing to government-driven censorship on all sorts of topics (Covid, election rigging, Hunter’s laptop, etc.). For a thorough account of CISA’s nefarious and unconstitutional activities, we recommend readers consult the House Judiciary Committee’s report.

As public attention turned toward CISA’s illegal censorship activities, CISA operatives understood the imperative of outsourcing its censorship practices to private-sector NGO cutouts. In the following remarkable clip, we can hear Alex Stamos, a former Facebook executive and then director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, describe how CISA’s relationship with private sector cutouts helps to circumvent legal restrictions (that is, the First Amendment prohibition on government censorship).


[…] CISA had a First Amendment problem.

The US government cannot sandblast millions of voters off the Internet because of their speech about elections.

CISA needed private sector partners to do dirty work. And that’s where EIP stepped in:

“CISA at the time lacked the funding and legal authorizations to go do the kinds of work that would be necessary to truly understand how election disinformation was operating…

We were able to pull together pretty quickly a project between these four different institutions to try to fill the gap of the things the government could not do themselves.”

It should come as no surprise that the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) was one of the key cutout institutions through which CISA, the Department of Homeland Security, and the regime generally carried out its censorship objectives. EIP, it should be noted, was jointly run from Stamos’ Stanford Internet Observatory and disgraced censorship operative Kate Starbird‘s ironically named Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington.


Alex Stamos, a former Facebook exec, is the founder of the EIP censorship network and Krebs’ business partner.

Stamos is a member of the CFR, a member of the Aspen Institute, and the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, and he loves censoring his political opponents.

The following clip will give you a sense of Stamos’ political leanings.

Together with his Stanford Internet Observatory colleague Renee DiResta, Stamos would, under the rubric of the EIP, publish remarkably meticulous reports of how forbidden narratives gained purchase online.

One narrative the regime censors were particularly concerned with concerned the concept of “Color Revolutions.” The concept, which refers to a specific type of regime change method favored by a certain subset of our deep state, gained national attention on account of a mega-viral investigative series by Revolver News (yours truly). The aforementioned disgraced censorship operative Nina Jankowicz did an entire video, clumsily attempting to counteract the growing understanding that growing swaths of our national security apparatus were attempting not to combat foreign adversaries but to undermine Trump. Jankowicz took special care not to credit Revolver by name, but everyone knew it was directed at our reporting.

Stanford Internet Observatory employee Renee DiResta also got in on the color revolution debunking action and was similarly careful in not crediting Revolver News by name (skip to 6:18):

While DiResta and Jankowicz took care not to mention Revolver, the EIP itself was rather less discrete. The EIP, in fact, chronicled in detail the ostensibly nefarious effects of Revolver News’ widely popular investigative series on color revolutions. We have it on very good authority that Revolver News’ narrative success in popularizing understanding of color revolutions has, via this EIP report, been featured as a cautionary tale of disinformation in several university lectures. What an honor!

The 2021 EIP report in question, published under the auspices of Renee DiResta’s Stanford Internet Observatory, is titled “The Long Fuse: Misinformation and the 2020 Election.” The EIP report even took care to put together a graphic to show how news of the color revolution spread from Revolver to the rest of the country.

We can actually commend the Election Integrity Parternship for getting one thing right: Revolver News’ Color Revolution series did have a profound impact on the national conversation leading up to the 2020 election, and we are quite proud of that. So we give them credit and thank them kindly for their slick documentation of this fact.

It is just a shame that for all the time and money spent tracking the evolution of the Color Revolution narrative, they didn’t seem to bother to address our reporting on its merits. For readers who missed our classic series and want to see what all the fuss is about, we recommend Darren Beattie’s appearance on Tucker Carlson, along with our main investigative pieces.

Read More: Meet Norm Eisen: Legal Hatchet Man and Central Operative in the “Color Revolution” Against President Trump

The nefarious activities of the Stanford Internet Observatory described above should redouble our enthusiasm that such a malicious and censorious organization should be reduced to shambles and its former leaders, Alex Stamos and Renee DiResta cast away in disgrace. This is a major victory for the good guys any way one cuts it, but we still can’t help but wonder: will the same censors simply set up shop in some new organization with a different name but with the same underlying purpose? Sometimes it seems as though going after such institutions amounts to a game of whack-a-mole; on the rare occasions that exposure leads to accountability, the same players seem to inevitably pop up somewhere else in no time. On the still rarer occasion that a specific operative is disgraced beyond repair, the pipeline has a number of new regime operatives in waiting, ready to take this person’s place.

A good example of this unfortunate state of affairs can be found in the career of former Stanford Internet Observatory employee Renee DiResta herself. Prior to DiResta’s employment at the observatory, she was associated with a scandal that, in any other field, would have ended her career. As we pointed out in our deep dive on DiResta, she had been involved with the organization New Knowledge, which was caught red-handed creating fake bot accounts pretending to be Russian, whereupon this group would have these fake “Russian” bots support certain GOP candidates, and then the group would point toward this support as evidence of nefarious involvement in American politics. You can’t make this up! Again, to read the full story in all of its embarrassing and scandalous glory, we refer readers to our classic piece on DiResta. We also strongly recommend a piece on DiResta’s history with the CIA published by the fantastic Foundation for Freedom Online, whose director Mike Benz has perhaps done more than any other person on earth to expose and bring accountability to the intel-censorship operatives.

Read More: Busted: Disinformation Operative Who Attacked Elon Musk’s Push for “Free Speech” Caught Red-Handed in Secret Influence Operation

Renee DiResta’s involvement in a group caught red-handedly faking Russian bot accounts to amplify the alleged threat of Russian election interference was not enough to end DiResta’s career—quite the contrary, she failed upward to her cushy post at the Stanford Internet Observatory. Why should we think that now that she has resigned in disgrace from the failing Stanford Internet Observatory, she wouldn’t simply “fail upward” or at least laterally and land somewhere else?

Time will tell the fate of notorious and disgraced censorship operatives such as DiResta (and Jankowitcz, Stamos, Yoel Roth, and others). Perhaps more encouraging than the (perhaps temporary) ill fate of specific institutions and operatives is that the discipline of “disinformation studies” itself seems to have suffered a dip in legitimacy. It could very well be the case that “disinformation” as a censorship predicate peaked in 2020, the silver lining to the fact that the government has now turned to lawfare, indictment, and incarceration as its preferred means of silencing critics.