(CNSNews.com) – President Biden’s spokeswoman told reporters on Wednesday that “cross-agency work” to combat disinformation “continues to this day.
Karine Jean-Pierre made the comment in response to a question about this week’s report in “The Intercept,” which described “an expansive effort” by the Department of Homeland Security to “curb speech it considers dangerous.”
“The administration — the Biden Administration remains fully committed to our mission to protect the security and resilience of our — of our, you know, elections and safeguard election infrastructure,” Jean-Pierre said.
“That includes combat — combating disinformation. That is something that we are committed to.
“You know, we work to protect that — protect Americans from disinformation that threatens the homeland, including malicious efforts spread by foreign advers- — adverseries [sic] — ah, adversaries, sorry, pardon me — began before the Disinformation Governance Board was established. In fact, some of that work began before this administration.
“So, you know, I want — I want to be very clear that cross-agency work continues to this day. Don’t want to — don’t want to get ahead of — of anything else. This is a Department of Homeland Security (effort), so I would refer you to them.”
According to the report in The Intercept:
“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 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.
“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…”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Fox News Wednesday night he will introduce legislation to stop the government from working with the private sector to censor speech.
“You know, for all the talk of democracy, it seems to be that they’re undermining the very basic principles of our constitutional republic,” Paul said:
“Freedom of speech was listed in the first amendment because it was one of the most important rights that our Founders thought should be protected. But having the government collude with Big Tech to censor speech is something that goes against every grain of everything that anyone has ever spoken about as far as freedom of speech.
“So when we get back in session, I’m going to introduce legislation that will forbid the government from colluding with private companies to censor speech. Now, this is a tricky situation because many people believe that the First Amendment doesn’t allow us to regulate the speech of private companies. But without question, we can regulate the government, and we can prevent and forbid the government from colluding with private tech on speech.
“But I think we should also preclude them and prohibit them from gathering up our data. So we can’t really tell people on the Internet they can’t collect our data, you know, for sales and for marketing. But we can tell the government they can’t collect that data, because I don’t want the government profiling every citizen. That goes against everything that we all believe in as far as the foundation of our constitutional republic.”
Host Laura Ingraham noted that China gathers data on its citizens to create profiles of each and every one.
Sen. Paul said the Democrat Party “actually wants to emulate China” as the COVID lockdowns showed: “They would weld your doors shut if they could,” he said.
“This is the party that prevented people from going to church on Easter Sunday. In our state, our Democratic governor sent government agents to a church to take down license plates of people attending church. He closed down religious schools. He tried to cut down travel between the states.
“This is the party of authoritarianism. The impulse to authoritarianism came with COVID. But the impulse to gather our information actually probably started with the Patriot act, all the way back to 2001. There was this impulse — we must be safe, we must be protected from terrorists.
“But my dad warned — he warned early on that this kind of going after terrorists would ultimately be used on us. And when they finally came and used the Patriot Act on Donald Trump, that was when we knew this wasn’t about terrorism, it was about suppressing dissent from people they disagree with.”
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