Jordan demands DHS say whether third-party contractors used to 'spy' on Americans' social media

Jordan made the request in a letter to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Updated: August 19, 2021 - 11:43am

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Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, on Thursday asked the Department of Homeland Security whether the agency intends to use third-party contractors to "spy on the social media communications of American citizens" for signs of "extremist" threats and if so provide the panel with information on the matter. 

Jordan made the request in a letter to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, also saying his concerns are based on published reports on the matter and that the agency’s "use of non-governmental entities to engage in this warrantless surveillance is reportedly designed to circumvent legal restrictions that prohibit law enforcement and intelligence agencies from spying on Americans." 

He also said such spying would "have serious consequences for the civil liberties of all Americans" and the reported initiative is "just the latest example of the Biden administration's continued disregard for American civil liberties."

The Ohio lawmaker said his concerns follows the Biden White House last month acknowledging the administration has been "colluding with tech giant Facebook to target and remove disfavored speech online."

He also said in the letter the department's initiative is so controversial that it has reportedly led to a debate with the Biden White House about its "murky" legal foundation.

Jordan has requested a staff-level briefing for the House committee on the DHS initiative to expand domestic surveillance of social media platforms and other online communications networks. He also wants by Sept. 1 related documents including those regarding the legality of contracting with non-government entities to perform "warrantless surveillance of American citizens."