Judicial Watch files FOIA suit against DHS for censorship records

The watchdog asserts that it filed the FOIA request through a public access portal and that CISA has "never acknowledged receipt" of the request.

Updated: November 30, 2022 - 3:17pm

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Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch announced on Wednesday it had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit against the Department of Homeland Security to obtain records connected to the DHS's misinformation censorship efforts.

Specifically, the group is seeking communications between the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) and the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), which was created to monitor online election content. The FOIA also seeks the handover of communication records between CISA and the University of Washington's Center for an Informed Public and/or Stanford University's Internet Observatory in connection with such efforts.

The watchdog asserts that it filed the FOIA request through a public access portal and that CISA has "never acknowledged receipt" of the request despite the online portal showing such and assigning the request a reference number.

The Election Integrity Partnership was created in July 2020 by the joint efforts of the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), the University of Washington's Center for an Informed Public, the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, and social media analytics firm Graphika. The EIP then worked directly with federal agencies to file "tickets" with Big Tech firms to request that certain stories and posts be flagged or censored.

The suit follows revelations that the DHS repeatedly met directly with Big Tech companies to coordinate the censorship of misinformation and some firms had established a "formalized process" by which government officials could directly flag posts for suppression.