The Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, demanded that the platform cease censoring government officials. The letter was in response to Twitter censoring the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan.
On October 28, Twitter censored a tweet by Morgan celebrating the progress of the southern border wall.
“CBP & U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continue to build new wall every day. Every mile helps us stop gang members, murderers, sexual predators, and drugs from entering our country. It’s a fact, walls work,” Morgan wrote in the tweet.
Soon after, Twitter removed the tweet and suspended Morgan’s account.
“You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease,” Twitter wrote in an email to Morgan explaining the censorship.
In the letter, Wolf said the censorship was “unjustified” and “disturbing” since the claims made by Morgan are “supported by data.”
The DHS secretary also said that the tweet did not promote violence against any protected group.
“The Acting Commissioner’s tweet did none of these things. Read it. Watch the video,” Wolf wrote in the letter. “It is hard to understand how anyone believed Mr. Morgan’s tweet promoted violence, threats, or harassment. Especially considering that the facts about the border wall system support the tweet.”
Morgan’s account has since been restored – but the company responded after the CBP filed a second appeal and went very public with the issue.
Wolf also defended the CBP guards saying they are “the frontline of the American homeland,” and they prevent violent criminal gangs from entering, intercept illegal drugs, and rescue young girls from sex trafficking rings.
“CBP fulfills the United States’ most obvious and essential law enforcement and national security responsibility to the people of our country. Your company may choose to be ignorant of these facts, but it is no less censorship when you choose to suppress them,” the DHS boss wrote.
Wolf warned that such censorship of government officials “poses a threat to our national security.”
Additionally, such censorship is a barrier to communication between the government and the public.
“It is dangerous and damaging when any publisher arbitrarily and unfoundedly decides, as it did here, that the facts and policies of a particular Presidential Administration constitute “violence”—in order to censor them. And in the case of Twitter, this can cut off an essential mode of communication between U.S.
Government officials and the public. In doing so, Twitter is sabotaging public discourse regarding important national and homeland security issues.”
He concludes the letter by urging Twitter to “commit to never again censoring content on your platform and obstructing Americans’ unalienable right to communicate with each other and with the government and its officials.”
We obtained a copy of the letter for you here.