Keeping up with the corruption of the Covid regime feels like drinking from a firehose. The volume of the fraud, the pace of new discoveries, and the breadth of the operations are overwhelming. This makes it imperative for groups like Brownstone Institute to digest the onslaught of information and communicate salient themes and dispositive facts, particularly given the dereliction of mainstream media.
On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee released a report on how the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) “colluded with Big Tech and ‘disinformation’ partners to censor Americans,” adding to the informational firehose we work to imbibe.
The 36-page report raises three familiar issues: first, government actors worked with third parties to overturn the First Amendment; second, censors prioritized political narratives over truthfulness; and third, an unaccountable bureaucracy hijacked American society.
CISA’s Collusion to Overturn the First Amendment
The House Report reveals that CISA, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, worked with social-media platforms to censor posts it considered dis-, mis-, or malinformation. Brian Scully, the head of CISA’s censorship team, conceded that this process, known as “switchboarding,” would “trigger content moderation.”
Additionally, CISA funded the nonprofit EI-ISAC in 2020 to bolster its censorship operations. EI-ISAC worked to report and track “misinformation across all channels and platforms.” In launching the nonprofit, the government boasted that it “leverage[d] DHS CISA’s relationship with social media organizations to ensure priority treatment of misinformation reports.”
The switchboard programs directly contradict sworn testimony from CISA Director Jen Easterly. “We don’t censor anything… we don’t flag anything to social media organizations at all,” Esterly told Congress in March. “We don’t do any censorship.” Her statement was more than a lie; it omitted the institutionalization of the practice she denied. The agency’s initiatives relied on a collusive apparatus of private-public partnerships designed to suppress unapproved information.
This should sound familiar.
Alex Berenson gained access to thousands of Twitter communications that uncovered concrete evidence that government actors – including White House Covid Advisor Andy Slavitt – worked to censor him for criticizing Biden’s Covid policies.
White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty privately lobbied social-media groups to remove a video of Tucker Carlson reporting the link between Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and blood clots.
Facebook worked with the CDC to censor posts related to the Covid “lab-leak” hypothesis. Company employees later met with the Department of Health and Human Services to de-platform the “disinformation dozen,” a group including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
These were not cherry-picked examples – they were part of an institutional collusion to strip Americans of their First Amendment rights. Journalists Michael Shellenberger and Matt Taibbi exposed the “Censorship Industrial Complex,” a collection of the world’s most powerful government agencies, NGOs, and private corporations that worked together to silence dissent.
The Supreme Court has held that it is “axiomatic” that the government cannot “induce, encourage, or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.” Yet, CISA has joined the disturbing tendency of public-private partnerships designed to impede Americans’ right to information and freedom of speech.