Rep. Speier asks Biden to give military more authority to vet service members' social media

"Social media platforms ... are frequently used by domestic terrorist groups to recruit members," the Democratic congresswoman said.

Published: February 1, 2021 8:14am

Updated: February 1, 2021 8:31am

Democratic California Rep. Jackie Speier is asking President Joe Biden to sign an executive order to give the Defense Department more authority to review U.S. service members’ social media postings as part of background investigation, following the recent siege on the U.S. Capitol.

"President Biden, I call on you to issue an Executive Order identifying white supremacy and violent extremism as a critical threat that must be considered as part of the security clearance," Speier said in a letter to Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sent Friday, about three weeks after the U.S. Capitol Building breach.

"Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Gab, Parler, and 4Chan, are frequently used by domestic terrorist groups to recruit members and plan violent attacks, including in some of the above cases involving military service members," Speier also wrote. 

"These platforms were crucial for planning the January 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the U.S. Capitol and the Congress of the United States. Yet social media is not reviewed during the military's accessions process or even as part of the background investigation process for security clearances."

There are no confirmed reports that any of the rioters were activity duty members. Some of those who participated in the riot have been identified as having ties to extremist groups. 

As many as 27,000 National Guard troops helped secured the Capitol building and other federal properties in the nation’s capital from the day of the riot through the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration, with thousands still in the district. 

Speier cited several recent violent incidents of service members with purported ties to extremist groups including one last year in which an Air Force sergeant was charged in connection with the murder last year of a federal security officer in Oakland. 

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News