House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan has issued a subpoena to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. This action is part of a wider investigation by the committee into allegations that the federal government has been working in concert with Big Tech companies to suppress certain viewpoints on social media platforms. These allegations raise serious concerns about violations of First Amendment rights.
Chairman Jordan, in his communication to Haines, underscored the gravity of the situation. He cited evidence gathered by the Committee and its Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, along with other publicly available information, highlighting the federal government’s involvement in pressuring and collaborating with Big Tech and other intermediaries. This collaboration, as Jordan pointed out, has led to the censorship of specific viewpoints online, in direct opposition to the principles enshrined in the First Amendment.
We obtained a copy of the subpoena cover letter for you here.
He emphasized that the First Amendment explicitly forbids government officials from imposing restrictions on speech based on viewpoint. Moreover, he mentioned the state action doctrine, which prohibits government officials from bypassing constitutional limits by engaging private actors to do what the government itself cannot lawfully do.
“The investigative work performed by the Committee and its Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, along with other publicly available information, have revealed how the federal government has pressured and colluded with Big Tech and other intermediaries to censor certain viewpoints on social media in ways that undermine First Amendment principles,” the subpoena reads. “The First Amendment prohibits government officials from imposing viewpoint-based restrictions on speech. State action doctrine prohibits government officials from circumventing constitutional strictures by using private actors—whether through coercion, encouragement, entwinement, or joint participation—to accomplish what the government cannot directly.”
According to a press release from Chairman Jordan, in an ongoing investigation, the ODNI has come under scrutiny for not providing documents requested by the Committee, despite repeated efforts for voluntary cooperation. This is what has sparked the need for a subpoena.
The Committee’s request encompasses records concerning the activities of the ODNI’s Foreign Malign Influence Center, which, according to publicly available information, should be within the scope of their inquiry.
Additionally, the Committee has acquired documents indicating that ODNI personnel were participants in meetings with major social media companies and various federal government agencies. These gatherings, commonly referred to as “USG-Industry Sync” meetings, are of particular interest to the Committee. Despite these revelations, the ODNI has not yet submitted any records related to these meetings or any other related sessions, raising questions about their responsiveness and transparency in this matter.
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