Cybersecurity chief complains Big Tech 'hesitant' to censor on behalf of feds

Republican attorneys general say their First Amendment lawsuit has found "scores of federal officials across at least eleven federal agencies" secretly communicating with platforms "to censor and suppress private speech federal officials disfavor."

Updated: September 1, 2022 - 1:38pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A First Amendment lawsuit by Republican attorneys general and a civil liberties group has found "scores of federal officials across at least eleven federal agencies" secretly communicating with Big Tech platforms "to censor and suppress private speech federal officials disfavor," the plaintiffs said Thursday.

Missouri's Eric Schmitt, Louisiana's Jeff Landry and the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which is representing censored doctors, filed a 711-page "joint statement on discovery disputes" with the defendants, who include President Biden, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly.

Easterly's texts with another CISA official show that "federal officials are fully aware" that they need to exert "maximal pressure," preferably from the White House, to get social media companies to expand censorship, according to the plaintiffs' position section.

Easterly discussed how to "get us in a place where Fed can work with platforms to better understand the mis/dis trends so relevant agencies can try to prebunk/debunk as useful."

Unhappy with the cooperation the feds were getting, Easterly wrote: "Platforms have got to get more comfortable with gov't. It's really interesting how hesitant they remain."

Complaining with another CISA official about the "chaos" that would result if federal officials didn't coordinate to demand censorship, she wrote, "Not our mission but was looking to play a coord role so not every [official] is independently reaching out to platforms."

Legal discovery has now revealed the "shocking extent of the government's involvement in silencing Americans," NCLA lawyer Jenin Younes said in a statement. "These bureaucrats continue to resist efforts to expose the degree of their unconstitutional actions every step of the way."