Friday, November 04, 2022

Billy Long: Trump might have won if Hunter Biden laptop story hadn't been suppressed

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

I have railed against today's topic in this space before. What topic? The topic of our government attempting to censor free speech by pressuring social media companies to do their dirty work for them. This time it's different. 

In April of this year, the Biden Administration created their Disinformation Governance Board out of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

Due to intense backlash, the board was dissolved, but the story doesn’t end there. This week, The Intercept reported on a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, regarding the ongoing censorship activities at DHS. After reviewing internal DHS memos and emails, The Intercept revealed the massive scale of this operation, which began long before the Disinformation Governance Board was created, and has not yet ended.

It all revolves around a law passed in 2018. The Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) was created under DHS to thwart foreign interference in our elections. This is a reasonable idea, and preventing foreign entities from interfering in our elections should have broad support. 

However, CISA and DHS have taken the agency to extraordinary levels. The Intercept reviewed a draft of DHS’s Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, which outlines their priorities for the coming years. The review shows DHS’s intentions to target “inaccurate information” on topics such as “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.” 

It is a dramatic escalation from preventing foreign interference in our elections to outright policing speech here at home. They claim that they are trying to fight misinformation and disinformation, such as the theory that COVID originated in a Chinese lab, a theory that is not at all baseless.

You might be wondering how DHS plans to push back on this alleged misinformation and disinformation. They intend to pressure social media companies to take down information that has been flagged by DHS or other government agencies. 

It’s a strategy that began before the 2020 election. Back then, representatives from Facebook, Twitter and many other tech companies met on a monthly basis with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and CISA to determine how the social media companies would combat misinformation. This included Facebook suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story in October of 2020, because the FBI told them to be on the lookout for this kind of misinformation. Mark Zuckerberg himself said this. 

The Missouri lawsuit also alleges that the FBI was more involved than even Zuckerberg admitted. Since President Biden has come into office, these efforts have ramped up. Facebook and Instagram now have special portals for misinformation and disinformation to be flagged, and these portals can only be accessed with a government or law enforcement email. 

And DHS has expanded this work beyond CISA. After the failed Disinformation Governance Board was dissolved, they simply had other agencies such as Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Secret Service take up the mission of policing alleged misinformation and disinformation.

It should be patently obvious why these efforts are wrong. Not only do they represent an attempt by DHS and other government agencies to subvert the First Amendment, they also can swing the balance of an election and control speech that the government doesn’t like. Had the voters known more about the Hunter Biden laptop story in October of 2020, who’s to say that wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the election? 

The reason we have a First Amendment is to prevent the government from punishing speech they don’t like. The reason they don’t want people poking around the origins of COVID is because there have been several accusations that the US government indirectly funded the lab possibly responsible for the pandemic. Telling social media companies to suppress this information is an authoritarian tactic, one that should never be allowed to exist in the United States. DHS needs to stop this work immediately, and Congress must hold hearings to ensure that it never happens again.


Anonymous said...

Trump never even won the popular vote. May that crook and bigot never be in office again. And you loss, so hush your mouth!

Billy is talking but he hasnt noticed no one is listening said...

Billy Long's political prospects are not looking too good, didn't he finish about 8th in a 34 candidate Republican Senate Primary this summer?