Kyle Becker | 1 Nov 2022
“Criticizing the people in charge is dangerous.”
A blockbuster report at “The Intercept” outlines in the most striking detail yet how the U.S. government and Big Tech corporations have been directly coordinating to suppress political dissent in the United States.Subscribe
“The Department of Homeland Security is quietly broadening its efforts to curb speech it considers dangerous, an investigation by The Intercept has found. Years of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents — obtained via leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents — illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms,” The Intercept reported.
“The work, much of which remains unknown to the American public, came into clearer view earlier this year when DHS announced a new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’: a panel designed to police misinformation (false information spread unintentionally), disinformation (false information spread intentionally), and malinformation (factual information shared, typically out of context, with harmful intent) that allegedly threatens U.S. interests,” the report added. “While the board was widely ridiculed, immediately scaled back, and then shut down within a few months, other initiatives are underway as DHS pivots to monitoring social media now that its original mandate — the war on terror — has been wound down.”
“Behind closed doors, and through pressure on private platforms, the U.S. government has used its power to try to shape online discourse,” the report continued. “According to meeting minutes and other records appended to a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican who is also running for Senate, discussions have ranged from the scale and scope of government intervention in online discourse to the mechanics of streamlining takedown requests for false or intentionally misleading information.”
As The Intercept points out, much of the U.S. government’s unconstitutional censorship campaign is still ongoing:
- Though DHS shuttered its controversial Disinformation Governance Board, a strategic document reveals the underlying work is ongoing.
- DHS plans to target inaccurate information on “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”
- Facebook created a special portal for DHS and government partners to report disinformation directly.
The receipts from the censorship campaign are indeed, disturbing.
“Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February.
“In a March meeting, Laura Dehmlow, an FBI official, warned that the threat of subversive information on social media could undermine support for the U.S. government,” the report continued. “Dehmlow, according to notes of the discussion attended by senior executives from Twitter and JPMorgan Chase, stressed that “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.”
“We do not coordinate with other entities when making content moderation decisions, and we independently evaluate content in line with the Twitter Rules,” a spokesperson for Twitter wrote in a statement to The Intercept.
“There is also a formalized process for government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be throttled or suppressed through a special Facebook portal that requires a government or law enforcement email to use,” the report said. “DHS and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, did not respond to a request for comment. The FBI declined to comment.”
As The Intercept points out, DHS’ interest in “disinformation” stems back to the 2016 election campaign, when the DNC and Hillary Clinton paid for a Steele dossier fueled by Russian disinformation to baselessly accuse their political opponent Donald Trump of being a traitor.
“DHS’s mission to fight disinformation, stemming from concerns around Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, began taking shape during the 2020 election and over efforts to shape discussions around vaccine policy during the coronavirus pandemic. Documents collected by The Intercept from a variety of sources, including current officials and publicly available reports, reveal the evolution of more active measures by DHS,” The Intercept reported.
Tucker Carlson interviewed investigation journalist Lee Fang of The Intercept on the story:
“Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security… established its own Ministry of Truth,” Tucker said. “It was so ridiculous. It had to be disbanded almost immediately when running. It was so far out, she was a parody and discredited the censorship movement.”
“But that doesn’t mean DHS has stopped trying to censor you. Oh, they are. You just didn’t know about it. Thanks to The Intercept, which just obtained many years of internal documents from DHS we know that companies like Facebook and Twitter have been wo working closely with the Biden administration to quote curb speech that the administration doesn’t approve of,” Tucker added.
“Emails also show that Twitter’s top sensor a Vijaya Gadde, which was fired by Elon Musk, met every month with the Biden administration’s censors at DHS to talk about new ways to get you to shut up in unconstitutional fashion,” he continued.
“We looked at really hundreds of documents that paint a vivid picture of the FBI, the DHS closely collaborating with the top social media platforms Twitter and Facebook to censor various forms of content under the banner of fighting disinformation,” Lee Fang said. “And the story shows a couple of things.”
“One, it shows what you just mentioned, a very cozy relationship between the government and these tech giants,” he said. “There’s those monthly meetings that you just mentioned but also just very cozy emails and texts. Not a very adversarial relationship.”
“You know, we looked at one text where Microsoft Executive Techs, Jen Easterly, the top Disinfo director at DHS appointed by Biden, basically saying ‘the government needs to get… the private sector needs to get more comfortable with the government,” he added. “They’re closely collaborating on reports, talking about the expanded role for DHS in centering a really broad collection of of topic areas of policy and political topics.”
“And, you know, just broadly speaking the story also just looks at the mission creep of DHS,” he continued. “This is an agency that was founded in the aftermath of 9/11 to combat foreign terror threats of Al Qaeda and the like. But over the last five years, it’s kind of evolved in its mission. It’s moved towards fighting Disinfo, and their justification is, you know, ‘disinformation radicalizes the homeland can lead to disruptions in public health or in political violence.’ So they, they have a justification. We have these documents and they’re pushing forward with this broad censorship agenda.”
“Criticizing the people in charge is dangerous,” Tucker commented. “You know, I don’t know why you did this story at the, at the Intercept. I’m just so grateful that you did. It’s a great story. It’s a huge public service.”