Former strategist to President Donald Trump and Breitbart boss Steve Bannon allegedly planned to infiltrate Facebook by planting a mole at the company to uncover inside information about their political bias.
According to a thread of emails obtained by BuzzFeed, Bannon plotted the move just days before he took his post on Trump's presidential campaign after Chris Gacek, who was a congressional staffer and now works for the Family Research Council, highlighted job openings at several tech firms that could be prime targets for giving up information on how they operate.
"There is one for a DC-based 'Public Policy Manager' at Facebook's What's APP [sic] division," Gacek wrote to Bannon on 1 August, 2016. "LinkedIn sent me a notice about some job openings."
"This seems perfect for Breitbart to flood the zone with candidates of all stripe who will report back to you / Milo with INTEL about the job application process over at FB," the report said.
Bannon then allegedly responded to the idea by asking Milo Yiannopoulos who was Tech Editor of the website at the time and now far-right figurehead: "can u get on this?"
Yiannopoulos then forwarded Bannon's email to "contracted researchers" who claimed the request would be difficult to pull-off. "Seems dificult [sic] to do quietly without them becoming aware of efforts," one of them wrote.
The job in question included the responsibilities of developing and executing WhatsApp's global strategy as well as "represent WhatsApp in meetings with government officials and elected members" – something that would likely offer significant intel for a Breitbart spy.
The BuzzFeed article claims the motive to infiltrate Facebook could have been fuelled by a desire to expose any potential political bias from the tech giant.
"Facebook's hiring process reflects longstanding conservative fears that Facebook and the other tech giants are run by liberals who suppress right-wing views both internally and on their dominant platforms," the report said.
The news comes as Facebook is facing increasing pressure over the revelation that Russia purchased up to $100,000 of advertising on the social network used to spread Kremlin propaganda.
While Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckeberg claimed days after the 2016 US election that the notion Facebook had influenced the outcome of the result was "pretty crazy", it has since been alleged by US intelligence that "state-funded" election meddling from Russia had occurred.
As for Steve Bannon's best laid plans, the report does not state whether the three plotters followed through with the scheme and actually put someone forward for the role. However, the job eventually went to Christine Turner, a former member of Barack Obama's National Security Council.
IBTimes UK has contacted Facebook for comment on this story.