Transcript (Declassified)

Committee Chair: Please state for the record your name and title. After that, you may provide a brief testimony and we will proceed with questions and answers.

Hoover: Thank you Mr Chairman. I am J. Edgar Hoover, deceased, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 48 years.

Committee Chair: You may proceed with your statement for the record.

Fmr Director Hoover: I have been asked to testify regarding the risks of the “TikTok” application and its implications for national security. In this matter we are dealing with technologies that I have not directly experienced, but I have had plenty of time to keep abreast of developments in technology, and, let me state with certainty, that these things do not represent anything dramatically new; they bring problems that we’ve dealt with to some degree or another since World War I. Admittedly, the asian race – the Chinese communists – that we are up against are a more serious threat than a European people, but the basics remain the same. I will, however, explain my experience in terms of recent events, since some of the younger people in the room may not be experienced with history. [laughter; Hoover was looking directly at Dianne Feinstein as he said that]

The FBI’s responsibility is domestic counter-espionage, crime prevention, and counter-terrorism. I believe our most important duty is to deter and combat communist spies, and to prevent the communists from infiltrating the liberal left, who are all too happy to threaten national security with their irresponsibility. Lately, the FBI has also been tasked with combating “right wing terror” which is a concept I do not fully support because often that amounts to making sure that patriots among us do not get carried away. We are constantly balancing Americans’ liberties against the necessity of counter-intelligence and law enforcement.

Midjourney AI and mjr: “The ghost of former FBI director J Edgar Hoover gives congressional testimony about TikTok, in the style of Leyendecker”

Now, let me briefly describe “TikTok” as I understand it. It is a Chinese communist made and provided “app” that runs on individuals’ portable computers. The software allows people to post pictures publicly, share pictures and messages privately, and to post short movie clips, comments, and so on and so forth. In that sense it is similar to other “apps” that have been popular lately such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, MySpace, and others. It is very different in terms of its national origin, and therefore our ability to meet our requirements for counter-intelligence. In cooperation with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other parts of the intelligence community, we have been able to meet our requirements in other platforms, but “TikTok” is uniquely challenging. Since all of those other platforms are US-based, we have been able to use the mechanisms granted to us in the USA PATRIOT act, namely “National Security Letters”, which allow us to specify a level of access that providers must give us to users’ data, friend lists, private messages, and private channel communications. In fact, since we have that level of access to other providers’ systems, we are profoundly familiar with the sort of things that criminals use the systems for – their “chats” are extremely revealing. For example, through NSA and partnerships with communication providers we were able to access a great deal of the messaging between various groups of patriots who toured the Washington Capitol during the patriotic rally on January 6, 2020. As experts in counter-intelligence, we have to admit we are endlessly amazed by the things that people will say in these circumstances – the software systems people feel they are interacting with are almost entirely front-ends for databases that collect and retain the pictures, “chats” and what not that are entrusted to them; as such we are able to access them easily enough with a National Security Letter, and most providers such as Facebook, and communications providers like AT&T and Verizon, have actually made profit centers out of charging the FBI money for fulfilling our access requests.

The reason “TikTok” is a threat is simply that we at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have a very good idea of the sort of unguarded and sensitive things people say when they believe they are using a private channel. We have performed countless legal wiretaps in our counter-espionage project and criminal investigations, and many criminals are extremely lackadaisical about their secret information. We have performed asset seizure warrants, too, and have found that many foreign spies are so sloppy that they might steal classified materials and then leave them sitting in a desk where we can find them. We are sure, then, that important US research, military or industrial secrets, the sexual improprieties of liberal lawmakers, and other extremely sensitive material will wind up on “TikTok” where they will be exposed to Chinese communists. Some of you are probably thinking, “How can we be sure that the Chinese communists would build backdoors into TikTok?” Let me counsel you seriously that that is not how any national intelligence apparatus would ever work. Look at the tremendous expense and length we have gone through to make sure that US citizens’ communications are accessible to our [coughs] legal wiretap orders – we would be unforgivably naive to assume that the Chinese are not expending a comparable effort. And, since we have seen, over and over again, that our lawmakers and citizens absolutely insist on putting sensitive information online, it will be impossible to prevent the Chinese communists from accessing our political parties’ electoral plans, our patriots like The Proud Boys’ site tour plans, the perversions and diversions of our liberal elites – all of that will be available to them. We would be fools to allow this to continue.

That concludes my statement. I would now be happy to consider any questions that you may have.

All joking aside, because this is not a funny issue, I believe I covered the nationalist’ and security community’s view of the problem. People will do stupid things with TikTok, as they have done with Facebook and Telegram, etc. The problem is not that secrets will be revealed, it’s a question of controlling who they are revealed to.

I tried to dance a fine line between the fact that Hoover would never mention, in open testimony, something like COINTELPRO, and would pretend to be respecting Americans’ rights while simultaneously ignoring them. Hoover was a fascinating character, to me: an arch authoritarian who really did not give a rat’s ass about the law except for where it was convenient to him.

In case you have been living under a rock and have not heard of the post 9/11 warrantless wiretap program: that was an expansion of many existing programs. Since early in the internet bubble the FBI has been requesting backdoors into most important online systems, as well as others. The amazing revelation from Edward Snowden was that most Americans are too stupid to give a shit. That is fascinating. Try telling a gun nut that the FBI collects the contents/shipping details of FedEx and UPS packages, especially those from firearms companies, ammunition dealers, and gun parts dealers, and you’ll find that they suddenly do give a shit. Then mention that an AI can easily combine that information with credit card and PayPal purchase history and match it against online catalogs and detect things like that an individual just bought a threaded barrel for their AR-15. Full freakout. What the hell else would someone do with that information? Other than collect image data off of celebrities’ cell phones, that is.

When I got started on this, I realized that – to me, anyhow – the characteristic speech of Hoover was not how he structured his sentences or what he said, but the sibilant hiss which which he mis-pronounced “communists.” He was a remarkably ignorant, pig-headed, authoritarian, asshole, and it says something about the US that he was in the position of power and responsibility he held for so long.


  1. says

    Check out what a great job V5 Midjourney is doing with hands. But it did stick a cigarette in that congressman’s nose. Probably it’s a republican showing his “liberties.”

  2. says

    Leyendecker is my favorite artist for AI styles. Yeah, that pic looks so good I completely missed the foolery in it. I wasn’t looking closely, but still. It holds up extremely well at first blush. Coming to you live from the channel Rice don Cons TBS.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    The amazing revelation from Edward Snowden was that most Americans are too stupid to give a shit.

    Yeah, Americans were amazed.

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