AMAC Exclusive – By B.C. Brutus
A recently released report from the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government has revealed shocking new details about the government’s involvement in online censorship operations and the Biden administration’s collusion with Big Tech to silence free speech – both of which Democrats and the mainstream media previously insisted were “conspiracy theories.”
The 36-page document unveiled late last month zeroes in on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a shadowy entity within the Department of Homeland Security. Although CISA’s stated mission is strengthening U.S. “critical infrastructure” against cybersecurity threats, censorship watchdogs have exposed how the agency is heavily involved in censoring social media posts containing alleged “disinformation.”
As the report explains, in the years following CISA’s creation in 2018, it “metastasized into the nerve center of the federal government’s domestic surveillance and censorship operations on social media.” In response to criticism of these actions, the report continues, “in 2022 and 2023… CISA attempted to camouflage its activities, duplicitously claiming it serves a purely ‘informational’ role.
The report details how CISA would often work with Big Tech companies to censor speech by proxy. Screenshots of emails and other communications between CISA bureaucrats and officials at Twitter and other social media companies show various government agencies using CISA as an intermediary to “funnel ‘misinformation’ reports from the government directly to social media platforms.”
This process was known as “switchboarding.” As the report describes, “CISA officials received alleged ‘misinformation’ reports from election officials and forwarded those reports to social media companies so that they could take enforcement measures against the reported content.”
In effect, this meant that government bureaucrats were dictating to social media companies what online speech was allowed and what speech was not– an act seemingly in direct defiance of the First Amendment.
Other emails from CISA staff recount them worrying what would happen if the public found out what they were up to. One representative example shows a high-up CISA official fretting that it was “only a matter of time before someone realizes we exist and starts asking about our work.”
The report also notes how CISA “transitioned” soon after Biden took office to focus almost exclusively on countering “disinformation” – a task found nowhere in the agency’s congressionally-authorized mission. “In doing so,” the report states, “CISA admitted that its focus was no longer exclusively on ‘countering foreign influence,’ but was also targeting [disinformation] originating from domestic sources.”
After this practice began garnering unwanted attention from some Republican politicians, however, CISA shifted their tactics. Following federal lawsuits against the Biden administration from the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, the report states, CISA “outsourced its [disinformation]-related activities to third parties in an attempt to bypass the First Amendment and “avoid the appearance of government propaganda.”
Specifically, CISA began funding a nonprofit, the Center for Internet Security (CIS), to conduct censorship operations on its behalf. CISA has funded CIS, which is filled with former government bureaucrats, to the tune of $27 million in FY 2023
The House subcommittee’s report is yet more fallout from the so-called “Twitter Files,” a collection of internal company communications that new Twitter owner Elon Musk began releasing last year. In his announcement of subpoenas for top CISA officials, weaponization subcommittee chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) specifically pointed to the Twitter Files, saying they have “exposed how the federal government has pressured and colluded with Big Tech and other intermediaries to censor certain viewpoints in ways that undermine First Amendment principles.”
Journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, who broke most of the Twitter Files reporting and testified before the subcommittee, also identified CISA as a major player in online censorship. In written testimony to the subcommittee, Shellenberger listed CISA as a “key organization” within what he called the “Censorship Industrial Complex.”
In his reporting on Twitter, Shellenberger was even more blunt: “This entire government agency, CISA, part of DHS, should be abolished,” he wrote. “Its leaders & programs have flagrantly & repeatedly violated the First Amendment.”
Following the release of the weaponization subcommittee’s report, some mainstream media outlets offered tacit rebukes of the report. An MSNBC article called the report “sketchy,” while also incredibly labeling the Twitter Files a “conspiracy theory.” CBS News, meanwhile, alleged the report is “peppered with politically charged language” and downplayed the extent of CISA’s censorship operations.
For the most part, however, the liberal media was silent, refusing to cover the issue entirely. Congressional Democrats were also unusually quiet – none of the Democrat members of the subcommittee even issued an official statement on the report.
That silence is perhaps the best endorsement Jordan and House Republicans could have hoped for. Recognizing that they can’t refute the report on the facts, the left is seemingly hoping the public will simply lose interest.
But as more and more revelations come to light, the chances of that occurring appear increasingly slim.
B.C. Brutus is the pen name of a writer with previous experience in the legislative and executive branches.