Freshly-unsealed court documents reveal that then-Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department took extraordinary steps to try and learn the identity of the person behind the twitter parody account that exists strictly to make fun of famously thin-skinned California Rep. Devin Nunes.
DOJ lawyers secretly obtained a subpoena from a grand jury last year in an attempt to identify the person behind the Twitter account, @NunesAlt, which is dedicated to mocking Nunes. Nunes became a national punchline after he filed several lawsuits against Twitter and the users behind parody accounts such as @DevinCow and @DevinNunesmom.
According to the New York Times, Twitter fought the subpoena, as well as an associated gag order barring the company from discussing it publicly. Twitter executives raised concerns that the Justice Department might be abusing federal criminal law-enforcement power and violating the First Amendment by trying to retaliate against a critic of Nunes, a Republican who was one of then-President Trump’s most vocal allies. Nunes was instrumental in pushing the “Deep State” conspiracy theories that Trump constantly brought up.
How the Justice Department was convinced to help Nunes in this latest fight with the social media platform is not clear, but it ultimately wasn’t any more successful than the earlier lawsuits. Sources say the issue was put to bed this spring, when the DOJ withdrew the subpoena after President Biden took office.
Several pointed out that there should be consequences for whoever authorized the waste of government resources for something like this.
CNN legal analyst Asha Rangappa also pointed out how strange it is that a veteran politician like Nunes can’t seem to handle criticism that comes with the territory of holding public office.
The Nunes parody account, which certainly picked up additional followers after this news, also weighed in on the news.
It pointed out the hypocrisy of the congressman pushing to unmask someone’s real identity. Nunes after all, was the one who made a very public accusation against the Obama White House, claiming they unmasked the identities of members of Trump’s then-presidential transition team.