DHS Subdivision Played Central Role In Attempts To Censor Donald Trump, House Report Finds

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James Lynch Contributor
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its third party affiliates attempted to censor then-President Donald Trump and multiple Republican candidates around the 2020 presidential election, according to a new House report.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), an agency within DHS, worked with the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) and the Center for Internet Security (CIS) to flag online speech by Trump and other Republicans for social media companies to act on, according to a report released Monday by the House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. (RELATED: Government Censors Linked Hunter Biden Laptop Story To Apparent ‘Web Of Falsehoods’ About Joe Biden, Lawsuit Reveals)


“Pursuant to a subpoena, CISA has produced to the Committee and Select Subcommittee dozens of emails in which CIS sent reports of misinformation from state and local election officials to both the EIP and CISA. CISA then switchboarded the reports to the relevant social media platforms,” page 55 of the report reads.

The “switchboard” process allows state and local election officials to flag “misinformation” for the relevant social media platforms to remove, according to the Judiciary Committee report. The EIP used a software system called Jira to create tickets for tracking and sharing “misinformation” on social media with government officials, social media platforms and other third parties.

The EIP is a coalition of organizations designed to rapidly respond to purported election “misinformation” and it works closely with the federal government. CIS is a CISA-funded nonprofit designed to send “misinformation” reports from election officials to social media platforms.

“In other words, while CISA did not directly report content to the EIP, CISA had complete visibility on what was being reported to the EIP and at the same time was reporting the same content directly to the social media platforms. While CISA had ‘no official role,’ CISA knew what reports were being submitted to the EIP, received Jira ticket reports and notifications via email, had personnel with direct access to the EIP ticketing system, and was in direct contact with the social media platforms,” the report adds.

Trump was targeted multiple times by CISA and the EIP before and after the 2020 presidential election because of his comments online about the election process, the Judiciary Committee found. (RELATED: Democratic Election Official Tried To Censor Ted Cruz By Partnering With Government-Funded Nonprofit: House Report)

A local official flagged a tweet from Trump to CIS’ “misinformation” tipline Oct. 27, 2020, page 70 of the report shows. Trump tweeted Oct. 27 encouraging his followers to change their vote after the second presidential debate against then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The election official’s submission was forwarded to the EIP and CISA, which proceeded to forward the request to Twitter without informing the White House of its decision.

“To be clear, this evidence shows an unelected executive branch official flagging a statement from the elected leader of the executive branch for removal from one of the world’s largest and most active public forums. CISA has not provided the Committee any evidence that it contacted the White House prior to making the referral to opine on the veracity of the claim in the tweet,” the report states.

The Jira ticket for the request, EIP-482, notes, “We [the EIP] heard back from Twitter through CISA” on how Twitter responded to the request, according to the report.

Similar action was taken after the 2020 presidential election, beginning Nov. 4 when a Michigan election official sent a “misinformation” report to CIS related to social media posts casting doubt on the election results. The report was sent over to the EIP and CISA for further action, and the EIP identified posts on social media in an attempt to confirm the state official’s report.

One of the posts identified by the EIP was a Nov. 7, 2020, tweet from Trump featuring an article from Breitbart. “What a total mess this ‘election’ has been!” Trump tweeted with the headline and link to the article.

The EIP also flagged posts from Trump’s family members, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and some of the posts were later labeled or removed, according to the Judiciary Committee report.

Additionally, the EIP flagged posts from Republican candidates such as North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and former Georgia Rep. Jody Hice.

For example, Tillis posted a tweet Nov. 4, 2020, celebrating his victorious reelection campaign with an image of him speaking to a crowd of supporters. The EIP ticket was submitted because Tillis’ victory celebration was believed to be premature by the organization. Tillis was reelected to serve another six-year term and his tweet appears to have been deleted.

The EIP flagged a Facebook post from Malliotakis’ campaign account Nov. 3, 2020, encouraging her followers to vote. She was first elected in 2020 and successfully flipped her seat from Democratic control. Her post appears to have been removed from Facebook.

In similar fashion, the EIP flagged a post from Greene’s campaign account encouraging her followers to share a post and a tweet from Hice questioning Georgia’s election administration, the Judiciary Committee report says.

President Biden narrowly defeated Trump in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election and Trump was indicted in August for his alleged attempts to overturn the Georgia results.

The EIP used its support from the federal government and public criticism in order to pressure social media companies into censoring posts, the Judiciary Committee report found, citing testimony from a former Facebook official.

“In addition to having the explicit and implicit backing of the federal government, the EIP had another tool at its disposal to pressure social media companies to comply with the censorship requests: the media,” the report reads.

“In his testimony before the Committee, Alex Stamos—the SIO director and former Chief Security Officer at Facebook—explained how social media companies felt pressure from public criticism about the failure to remove content that experts had labeled as misinformation.”

Dr. Kate Starbird of the University of Washington, an academic involved with the EIP, also testified about using her independent social media platform to pressure platforms into censorship.

“It was, for me — again, this is not, like, within the EIP brand. This is sort of something that we were just kind of doing that eventually we start working together. But this is just something that I do a lot, which is to put out analysis and have recommendations for the platforms at the end of that analysis,” Starbird testified.

CISA is one of the government agencies covered in the Missouri v. Biden First Amendment lawsuit contesting the ability of government officials to work with social media platforms on censoring online speech. The Supreme Court is set to hear the landmark lawsuit.

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear the lawsuit, it paused the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ injunction preventing coordination between the Biden administration and social media companies.

The Fifth Circuit expanded its injunction in October to include CISA among the government agencies prevented from working with social media platforms.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate on Oct. 31 and acknowledged how the Bureau’s interactions with social media companies changed because of the court’s ruling.

“CISA does not and has never censored speech or facilitated censorship. Every day, the men and women of CISA execute the agency’s mission of reducing risk to U.S. critical infrastructure in a way that protects Americans’ freedom of speech, civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy,” CISA Executive Director Brandon Wales said in a statement to the Daily Caller.

“In response to concerns from election officials of all parties regarding foreign influence operations and disinformation that may impact the security of election infrastructure, CISA mitigates the risk of disinformation by sharing information on election literacy and election security with the public and by amplifying the trusted voices of election officials across the nation.”