OAN’s Brooke Mallory
1:32 PM – Tuesday, November 7, 2023
A number of communications detailed in a report by the House Judiciary Committee indicated that officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) helped to form a “disinformation” group at Stanford University that worked to “censor” the speech of Americans before the 2020 presidential election.
The emails and internal communications, which were extensively documented in the 103-page staff interim report of the House panel, demonstrated how the group, known as the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), collaborated with the DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to notify, censor, and remove specific online speech in tandem with major tech companies.
An email that was made an example of, which was sent by a top director at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab on July 31st, 2020, mentioned CISA’s role in its efforts to censor Americans.
“I know the Council has a number of efforts on broad policy around the elections, but we just set up an election integrity partnership at the request of DHS/CISA and are in weekly communications to debrief about disinfo,” said Graham Brookie, the lab’s senior director.
The study stated that the conversations exemplified how “the federal government and universities pressured social media companies to censor true information, jokes, and political opinions.”
Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) also highlighted the research in a post to X, the platform formally known as Twitter.
“This pressure was largely directed in a way that benefited one side of the political aisle: true information posted by Republicans and conservatives was labeled as ‘misinformation’ while false information posted by Democrats and liberals was largely unreported and untouched by the censors,” the report stated. “The pseudoscience of disinformation is now—and has always been—nothing more than a political ruse most frequently targeted at communities and individuals holding views contrary to the prevailing narratives.”
The report detailed how many Americans, including right-wing media conglomerates and commentators, had their opinions suppressed.
It also mentioned how social media posts by well-known figures, including former President Donald Trump, GOP senators from North Carolina and Georgia, Representatives Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, were users whose posts were flagged as “misinformation.”
The groups also tagged other posts from former politicians as “misinformation,” citing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee as examples.
The federal government’s endeavor to “censor Americans engaged in core political speech in the lead up to the 2020 election” was reportedly spearheaded by CISA’s Countering Foreign Influence Task Force.
According to the internal notes of a call between Facebook employees and DHS personnel regarding a ‘Misinformation Reporting Portal,’ “DHS cannot openly endorse the portal, but has behind-the-scenes signaled that [the National Association of Secretaries of State]/[the National Association of State Election Directors] has told them it would be easier for many states to have ‘one reporting channel’ and CISA and its ISAC would like to have incoming the same time that the platforms do.’ Less than two months later, the EIP would be established to serve that very purpose,” the report continued.
“Switchboarding,” defined in the report as the “federal government’s practice of referring requests for the removal of content on social media from state and local election officials to the relevant platforms,” was a procedure employed by the CISA’s Countering Foreign Influence Task Force.
“Brian Scully testified during his deposition in Missouri v. Biden that switchboarding was ‘CISA’s role in forwarding reporting received from election officials … to social media platforms.”
Additionally, students from Stanford worked concurrently at the CISA and EIP, according to the Judiciary report.
“Not only were there a number of university students involved with the EIP, at least four of the students were employed by CISA during the operation of EIP, using their government email accounts to communicate with CISA officials and other ‘external stakeholders’ involved with the EIP,” the report mentioned.
However, CISA Executive Director Brandon Wales doubled down and claimed that the agency “does not and has never censored speech or facilitated censorship.”
“Every day, the men and women of CISA execute the agency’s mission of reducing risk to U.S. critical infrastructure in a way that protects Americans’ freedom of speech, civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy,” Wales claimed.
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