The State Department said Wednesday it has terminated support for an online project aimed at fighting Iranian disinformation after it tweeted harsh criticism of individual human rights workers, academics and journalists, some of whom are U.S. citizens.
Lea Gabrielle, the head of the department’s Global Engagement Center, said at a congressional hearing that funding for an outside contractor that ran the @IranDisinfo Twitter feed has been eliminated.
The funding had been suspended last month pending a review of the tweets in question. Gabrielle told the House Appropriations Subcommittee that the review determined the tweets violated the terms of the State Department’s agreement with the contractor.
“The intent was to unveil Iranian disinformation,” she said, adding that the tweets “were not in the context that was intended. They were outside the scope of the agreement that we had.”
“We have since terminated our agreement with that implementer,” Gabrielle said. “It was never the intent of the Global Engagement Center to have anyone tweeting at U.S. citizens.”
She did not say exactly when the agreement was canceled or how much money the contractor had received.
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