Biden agency ‘likely’ violated free speech by working with Big Tech to censor election content: court

A federal court has issued an injunction against a leading department in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), accusing it of potential First Amendment violations. This stems from allegations that it partnered with social media giants to suppress “election-focused discourse.”

Recently, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals broadened an existing injunction, which now encompasses the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the DHS.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, at the forefront of the lawsuit against the Biden administration, has labeled CISA as central to the government’s extensive “censorship efforts.” He further claimed that CISA collaborated with the FBI to suppress details about Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Originally formed to shield Americans from external threats, CISA is now accused of turning against its own people. As stated in the court’s findings, CISA played a pivotal role in the FBI’s dealings with social media channels, urging them to revise their content moderation guidelines for “hack-and-leak” material.

The court documents depict CISA’s operations as mere conveyance of questionable social media posts from regional election authorities to the platforms. However, the judge highlighted that the agency’s actions were more involved than initially perceived.

According to the court, CISA, through its regular interactions, influenced social media companies to enforce stricter rules on election-related discourse. Moreover, the agency would often confirm or deny the accuracy of the content they flagged to these platforms.

Consequently, the court suggests that CISA played a critical role in shaping the content moderation strategies of these platforms, possibly infringing upon First Amendment rights.

This legal action began when the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana accused top government representatives of colluding with major social media networks under the pretense of curbing misinformation. Their collaboration allegedly resulted in suppressing discussions on various topics, including the origins of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of masks.

Notably, a number of officials, like Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Agent Elvis Chan, were questioned. Earlier on July 4, Judge Terry A. Doughty of the Fifth Circuit initiated the primary injunction, barring government bodies from engaging with tech firms regarding online speech suppression.

Highlighting its significance on Independence Day, the injunction compared the government’s pandemic-time actions to a dystopian “Ministry of Truth.” If the charges stand, the current situation could be seen as one of the most severe assaults on freedom of speech in the US.

The Justice Department, however, has moved to challenge this decision in the Supreme Court. Their stance is that such restrictions could impede the federal government’s efforts to collaborate with tech platforms in safeguarding American interests and preserving democratic principles.