Supposedly Secure Messaging App Signal Launched With Gov’t Funds, Headed By Propagandist Now Running NPR: Report

[REUTERS/Dado Ruvic]

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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With over 100 million users, the encrypted messaging service app Signal is touted as private and secure; however, a new report reveals the app was allegedly not only launched with government funds but is headed by National Public Radio’s (NPR) CEO, Katherine Maher.

Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, released a piece Monday about the alleged connections between the U.S. government, Maher and Signal. The platform, which prides itself on privacy for users, has been endorsed by notable figures, including National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Eric Snowden, Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. (RELATED: Biden Agencies Have Resumed Censorship Collaboration With Big Tech, Dem Senate Intel Chair Says)

Signal’s technological foundation, however, was originally funded “in part” by government resources, Rufo claims. The technology — used in the Facebook messaging app, WhatsApp — for the platform — which also ran as a nonprofit foundation — reportedly received a $3 million grant awarded by government agency Open Technology Fund (OTF) sometime between 2013 and 2016, according to Voice of America (VOA).

While the OTF is reportedly a spin-off of a government-funded private news service, Radio Free Asia, the technology fund claims their goal is to “advance internet freedom in repressive environments by supporting the research, development, implementation, and maintenance of technologies that counter censorship and combat repressive surveillance to enable all citizens to exercise their fundamental human rights online,” according to their site.

Awards from the OTF to technology platforms are not uncommon; a 2020 VOA report shows the government agency awarded millions to others in addition to OTF. The connection between OTF and Signal, though, is allegedly deeper than just the grant. An anonymous source who “worked extensively with OTF” claimed to Rufo that, over time, it appeared “the project was actually a State Department-connected initiative that planned to wield open source Internet projects made by hacker communities as tools for American foreign policy goals.” The initiative allegedly empowered “activists [and] parties opposed to governments that the USA doesn’t like,” Rufo reported.

A woman holds a smartphone displaying the Signal messaging app logo, which is also seen near her, in this illustration taken January 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

A woman holds a smartphone displaying the Signal messaging app logo, which is also seen near her, in this illustration taken January 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

In addition to the implications of Signal’s background, the company’s current chairman of the board is Maher, according to Rufo and her NPR bio. One of the NPR CEO’s digital communications positions was working as an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) program officer for the National Democratic Institute. The Institute claims it works “around the world to strengthen and safeguard democratic institutions, processes, norms and values to secure a better quality of life for all” by partnering with American foreign policy campaigns.

Maher was allegedly recruited for her position with Signal by the foundation’s current president, Meredith Whittaker, due to their mutual connection to OTF, the anonymous insider told Rufo. Maher reportedly serves as an advisor to OTF as well as another nonprofit, Access Now, which focuses on “digital rights of people and communities at risk,” according to their site.

Maher received massive backlash online in April 2024 after an NPR whistleblower and senior editor, Uri Berliner, revealed details of the outlet’s apparent bias against former President Donald Trump during his term. While Maher defended NPR’s reporting during the time, her previous comments about the First Amendment and support of President Joe Biden resurfaced. In November 2020 Maher announced online her support of Biden; in June 2021 the CEO was recorded claiming the First Amendment poses obstacles to countering “bad information.”

Maher’s comments from an August 2021 TED Talk video also resurfaced, with the NPR CEO claiming the “reverence” for truth may be a “distraction” to finding “common ground and getting things done.”

“Perhaps for our most tricky disagreements, seeking the truth and seeking to convince others of the truth might not be the right place to start,” Maher claimed in her presentation. “In fact, our reverence for the truth might be a distraction that’s getting in the way of finding common ground and getting things done.”

“Clearly, the search for the truth has led us to do great things, to learn great things. But, I think if I were to really ask you to think about this, one of the things that we could all acknowledge is that part of the reason we have such glorious chronicles to the human experience and all forms of culture is because we acknowledge there are many different truths.”

The Daily Caller has reached out to Signal for a comment.