A bombshell revelation demonstrates the chilling lengths the government will go to censor the American people. I wish I could say I’m surprised, but federal officials have been pressuring Big Tech to censor constitutionally protected speech for quite some time. The House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government recently released a report revealing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Global Engagement Center (GEC) coordinated with Stanford University, along with other entities, to censor speech leading up to the 2020 election.
The government created an entity called the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) to outsource its censorship efforts in an attempt to disguise efforts to violate our First Amendment rights. Under this scheme, government officials and federally funded organizations flagged posts they deemed ‘misinformation’ to EIP analysts, who in turn would flag them for the intended social media platform.
As the report shows, EIP was formed “at the request of DHS/CISA.” Although the EIP was intended to hide the federal government’s involvement, the connections are clear. Documents show that CISA had direct access to the EIP’s inner workings, including incoming misinformation reports from the EIP’s centralized reporting system.
Unsurprisingly, the EIP chose to target speech exclusively from Republicans, libertarians, and conservatives. The report from the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government found, “the EIP reported back to the federal government that it had successfully induced Big Tech to censor Americans’ political speech…”
I know all too well that social media platforms, like YouTube, have been involved with censorship for quite some time. When I used the platform myself to educate the public on the potentially deadly consequences of relying on ineffective cloth masks in an attempt to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, YouTube took my video down and suspended my ability to upload additional videos for a week.
In his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee, former Facebook executive Alex Stamos revealed that the government did not exactly ask nicely when demanding social media companies censor speech. Stamos stated, “you can’t have a casual chat with an FBI agent when you’re an executive at a company. It’s not safe.” Stamos also described, “all executives of all public companies understand that there’s lots of parts of the government that can punish you for activity that you thought was appropriate.”
Even Stanford initially refused to cooperate when commanded to provide misinformation reports. However, Stanford eventually relented and produced thousands of links to social media posts that the EIP collected for its censorship efforts.
It is time to put an end to the establishment’s campaign to crush dissent and opposing viewpoints. That is why I introduced legislation called the Free Speech Protection Act, which will prohibit federal employees and contractors from using their positions to censor and otherwise attack speech protected by the First Amendment. My legislation will impose penalties for those that violate this rule, as well as empower private citizens to sue the government and executive branch officials for violating their First Amendment rights. Additionally, the bill will mandate frequent publicly accessible reports detailing the communications between an executive branch agency and media organizations, ensure that federal grant money is not used to label media organizations as sources of misinformation or disinformation, and terminates authorities that threaten free speech.
My legislation will make it difficult to hide efforts to censor constitutionally protected speech. Those officials who censor Americans are on notice: if you infringe upon First Amendment rights, under my bill, you will face severe penalties, such as potential debarment from employment by the United States, a civil penalty of no less than $10,000, and revocation of a security clearance. Any administration employee who prizes his livelihood would not dare threaten free speech after my bill becomes law.
To protect free speech, Congress must prohibit the government’s collusion with Big Tech and other media organizations. Congress must pass the Free Speech Protection Act.
You can read the Op-Ed HERE.