GOP report finds that Biden administration and Big Tech "censored Americans"

The document charges that a cybersecurity agency under DHS "has transformed into a domestic intelligence and speech-police agency."

Republican lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government filed a report charging that the Biden administration "colluded" with Big Tech to "censor Americans." In the document, the congressmen denounce that a Cybersecurity Agency (CISA), which works under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), "has transformed into a domestic intelligence and speech-police agency, far exceeding its statutory authority."

"We are not law enforcement"

The report includes quotes from well-known Democrats to highlight the violations that the administration is committing against the fundamental rights enshrined in the First Amendment. They stress that CISA head Spencer R. Fisher assured in 2019 that "We are not law enforcement and we’re not the intelligence community." This is technically true, according to the agency's statutes, but its work is violating this code, according to investigations:

But, in practice, that is how CISA has behaved, arrogating to itself the authority to conduct surveillance of Americans on social media. CISA expanded its unconstitutional practice by developing an elaborate social media censorship apparatus spanning multiple organizations, in order to facilitate the censorship of Americans’ political speech both directly and by proxy. There is no constitutionally viable legal authority that allows CISA to engage in this or any other kind of censorship. Thus, not only does CISA’s conduct violate the First Amendment, it also disregards the basic principle of the separation of powers, which prohibits agencies from acting outside of their congressionally delegated sphere.

Censorship through Big Tech

According to the report, CISA leveraged its contacts with technology companies and government-funded non-profit organizations to "censor by proxy," circumventing the First Amendment's guidance against government-induced censorship. To this end, they created "information portals" through which they channeled "disinformation reports" to social media platforms.

In 2021, CISA formed a disinformation and misinformation (MDM) team, which was since disbanded. Among its members were University of Washington associate professor Kate Starbird, co-founder of the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington, as well as former Twitter Legal Director Vijaya Gadd and former Deputy General Counsel and legal advisor to the CIA Suzanne Spaulding.

"CISA must be stopped"

In the report's conclusions, the conservative representatives stress that "CISA must be reined in, as must the Biden administration’s 'whole-of-government' approach to social media censorship."

Every American has the right to express his or her opinion online, and to receive information from others. Government classifications of opinions as “misinformation” or “disinformation” do not nullify the First Amendment’s guarantees. A free and democratic society is impossible under a government that acts as the ultimate arbiter of truth in political discourse. To better inform legislative efforts to end government censorship on the Internet and protect Americans’ rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, the Committee and Select Subcommittee will continue to investigate the extent of CISA’s and other Executive Branch agencies’ interactions with social media platforms.

In the text, the GOP congressmen used a quote from former President Barack Obama: "Silencing those who disagree with us is a sign of weakness, not strength, and it won’t lead to progress."