Probe Launched Into Homeland Safety’s ‘Taxpayer-Funded Censorship Marketing campaign’

Home Oversight Committee Republicans are kicking off an investigation into what they referred to as a “taxpayer-funded censorship marketing campaign” on the Division of Homeland Safety.

Since 2020, the federal company has been underneath fireplace for working with Huge Tech firms to censor sure viewpoints primarily associated to election integrity. The GOP launched its investigation after Monday’s report by The Intercept dove into how the Feds had begun pressuring tech firms on a variety of points, together with COVID-19, the vaccine for it, and Ukraine.

The Middle Sq. obtained a letter from the group, led by rating member Rep. James Comer, R-Ky. The letter, addressed to Division of Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, calls out an “intensive censorship marketing campaign originating inside DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Safety Company.”

“CISA is framing any dissenting opinion disseminated on-line as a cyber risk to vital infrastructure,” the letter mentioned. “CISA leverages partnerships with left-leaning non-public organizations—who’ve acquired tens of millions of {dollars} in federal cash—to determine after which take motion towards political speech unfavorable to the Administration, particularly round its dealing with of COVID-19 coverage.”

Information of this effort from federal regulation enforcement sparked nationwide controversy for particulars of the Biden administration’s persistent strain on tech firms like Fb to delete content material it finds inappropriate. The Intercept reported that Fb had an internet portal the place federal regulation enforcement may flag content material that it needed eliminated.

“This effort started after CISA partnered with left-leaning organizations and Huge Tech firms to launch the Election Integrity Partnership,” the letter mentioned. “The EIP gives an internet complaint-processing platform that allows teams—together with the Democratic Nationwide Committee on no less than 4 events—to submit ‘tickets’ reporting narratives they flagged for considerations.

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“‘Tickets’ have been continuously resolved by taking one in all a number of actions: 1) banning the person from posting his or her lawful speech or deplatforming the person fully, 2) algorithmically proscribing the attain of the speech on the platform, or 3) including different data, corresponding to a warning label, to the put up alerting customers to the put up’s disfavored standing,” the letter added.

The White Home has pushed again on criticism, saying it doesn’t use the censorship portal.

“You already know, we work to guard that—defend Individuals from disinformation that threatens the homeland, together with malicious efforts unfold by international … adversaries … started earlier than the Disinformation Governance Board was established,” White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre mentioned at a press briefing Wednesday. “Actually, a few of that work started earlier than this administration. I need to be very clear that cross-agency work continues to this present day.”

Former White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned final yr, although, that the White Home was flagging sure Fb posts to the corporate as misinformation.

“We’re in common contact with the social media platforms and people engagements sometimes occur via members of our senior employees and in addition members of our COVID-19 staff given, as Dr. Murthy conveyed, it is a massive problem of misinformation, particularly on the pandemic,” Psaki mentioned at a press briefing in July of final yr, referring to the U.S. surgeon normal, Dr. Vivek Murthy.

This investigation is spearheaded by the Republican minority on the Home Oversight Committee. If Republicans take the bulk within the Home, as present polling suggests, the probe may grow to be a significant function of the second half of President Joe Biden’s first time period in workplace.

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“The U.S. Division of Homeland Safety has a duty to guard the American folks, not intentionally goal and discredit Individuals against the Biden administration’s radical agenda,” Comer mentioned. “Any operation by the division to stifle Individuals’ free speech is unacceptable, an abuse of taxpayer {dollars}, and warrants a right away congressional investigation. Oversight Republicans anticipate Secretary Mayorkas to cooperate with congressional oversight into any on-line content material monitoring program applied by DHS to suppress Individuals’ free speech.”

Republican lawmakers argued the Biden administration is actively violating the First Modification and has already abused its affect of Huge Tech firms to unfold false data.

“Additional, your company is poorly positioned to reasonable speech on social media. Actually, you intentionally unfold disinformation in a White Home press convention final yr surrounding false allegations that your Border Patrol Brokers have been whipping Haitian migrants on the border in Del Rio, Texas,” the letter mentioned, including:

At that press convention, you said that ‘we—our total nation—noticed horrifying photographs’ that ‘painfully conjured up the worst parts of our nation’s ongoing battle towards systemic racism.’ E-mails now reveal that you just have been made conscious—hours earlier than these feedback—that the photographer who captured the pictures you have been referring to instructed information retailers that he and his colleagues ‘by no means noticed brokers whipping anybody.’ Armed with the reality, you continue to perpetuated a false narrative that brokers have been whipping migrants on the border.

Initially revealed by The Middle Sq.

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