Biden Cybersecurity Agency ‘Likely’ Violated Free Speech by Colluding with Big Tech, Censoring Election Content

Originally published October 5, 2023 2:00 pm PDT

On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals broadened an existing injunction to encompass the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), amid allegations of unconstitutional collusion with big tech firms to silence “election-related speech.”

This move follows a court order that denounced a probable First Amendment infringement by a key agency within the Biden administration.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, spearheading the legal challenge against the administration, dubbed CISA the “nerve center” of a purported “vast censorship enterprise” orchestrated by the White House.

“CISA was created to protect Americans from foreign attack, and now it has begun targeting its own citizens,” Bailey said, according to Fox News.

He further alleged the involvement of CISA with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in muffling the narrative around the Hunter Biden laptop incident.

The litigation, initiated by Missouri and Louisiana’s attorneys general, pointed fingers at high-tier government entities for allegedly conspiring with major social media outlets “under the guise of combating misinformation,” leading to the suppression of dialogues on several topics including the origins of COVID-19, the effectiveness of face masks, and Hunter Biden’s laptop.

The judicial panel underscored CISA’s pivotal role as the “primary facilitator” of the FBI’s liaisons with social media giants, coercing them to amend their moderation policies specifically towards “hack-and-leak” content.

The court document narrated CISA’s operation as a conduit, “merely relaying flagged social-media posts from state and local election officials to the platforms.”

However, the reality of CISA’s actions transcended this benign description, moving towards what the court order labeled as “[s]omething more.”

It was elucidated that CISA exploited its regular engagements with these platforms to advocate for stricter censorship measures on election-centric discourse.

The agency didn’t just act as a passive intermediary but actively validated the truthfulness of the ‘switchboarded’ content, thereby significantly swaying the content-moderation decisions of these platforms, which, the judges opined, “likely significantly encouraged the platforms’ content-moderation decisions and thereby violated the First Amendment.”

The initial injunction, issued on July 4 by federal Judge Terry A. Doughty of the Fifth Circuit, had barred federal entities and White House officials from deliberations with tech firms regarding social media censorship, citing a probable First Amendment violation.

This injunction, likening the government’s pandemic-era actions to an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth,” alleged this case could represent “the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history” if the claims held water.

In a bid to overturn this order, the Justice Department has lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court.

It argues that the injunction inflicts “irreparable harm,” potentially obstructing crucial collaborations between the federal government and social media companies aimed at averting “grave harm to the American people and our democratic processes.”