In 2018, Congress unanimously passed a law, HR 3359, which authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to release information to the private sector, including social media companies. Big Tech, in an effort to counter misinformation by potential outsiders. and domestic terrorists
According to the agency’s website, CISA says it “confuses[es] misinformation issues” to “appropriate social media platforms”: “The [Mis, Dis, Malinformation] The MDM team serves as a switchboard for escalating misinformation issues to appropriate social media platforms and law enforcement.
In other words, the Department of Homeland Security has reported what it considers misinformation to social media platforms, which have the ability to algorithmically monitor and remove this content.
Apparently it’s been going on since 2018: “This activity started in 2018, helping state and local election officials mitigate misinformation about when, where and how to vote.”
And it was expanded in 2020: “For the 2020 election, CISA has expanded the scope of reporting to include additional state and local officials and more social media platforms.”
The agency even brags about its “relationship” with Big Tech companies in censoring speech, so they’re on the same page: “This activity leverages the rapport the MDM team has with social media to enable shared situational awareness.”
During the pandemic, CISA also targeted Covid “misinformation”: “COVID-19…creating[d] opportunities for adversaries to act maliciously. The MDM team supports… the COVID-19 response of private sector partners… through regular reporting and analysis of key MDM trends related to the pandemic.
The magnitude of this should shock most members of Congress, unfortunately for those who did not oppose the unanimous passage of this law and are suddenly worried that it will actually be enforced.
For example, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who did not oppose unanimous consent to pass this law, is now “deeply concerned” about the activities of the Disinformation Governance Board.
The same goes for former U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who was in Congress in 2018 but did not oppose the creation of what she now calls the “propaganda arm” of a dictatorship”.
No one read the bill?
The law authorizes CISA to “disseminate, as appropriate, information analyzed by the Department within the Department, to other federal government agencies with homeland security responsibilities, and to agencies of state and local and private sector entities with such responsibilities in order to assist in the deterrence, prevention, prevention, or response to terrorist attacks on the United States”.
It would be a good part to point out that the agency is supposed to anticipate potential terrorist attacks in the United States.
So when the agency reports that citizens are posting about what they believe was voter fraud in the 2020 election – in their view – it should be seen as an effort “to assist in the deterrence, prevention , in anticipation of, or in response to, terrorist attacks against the United States.
Or, if it targets social media posts of anti-Covid activists, it must also be to protect the homeland from terrorist attacks. And so on.
But none of this is particularly surprising in hindsight.
It’s an agency created by Congress with little attention during the height of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s alleged 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee, which resulted in publication of the organization’s emails by Wikileaks.
It was easy to pass. Suffice it to accuse anyone who might oppose it of potentially being in cahoots with Russia. So, of course, it passed without debate on voice votes by unanimous consent.
No one should be surprised that the Secretary of Homeland Security is considering using that same law that Congress unanimously passed creating CISA to now establish a so-called Disinformation Governance Council. Already members such as U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) are drafting legislation to fund these Department of Homeland Security activities.
Any legislation should target the 2018 Act, and in particular CISA’s power to disseminate any information and coordinate with social media companies, including flagging content for censorship. It is tyrannical. There is no point in pruning the branches of this censorship tree. It must go up through the roots.
Robert Romano is the vice prareident of public policy at Americans for Limited Government.