As the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was pursuing the policy of cracking down on “misinformation” one of the ideas was to include more left-wing and Democrat-leaning figures and entities into this effort.
That transpires from internal documents – emails, notes, and minutes – seen by the Daily Caller News Foundation, obtained through a public records request.
According to the documents, it was a subcommittee of a committee of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a part of the DHS, that was tasked with combating “misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation” in the period before the 2022 midterm elections.
The subcommittee’s job was to direct CISA in matters of “misinformation” that pertained to democracy, elections, financial and court system, and public health.
However, in attempting to get outside collaborators, the subcommittee – Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Misinformation and Disinformation, set up in late 2011, a part of CISA’s Cybersecurity Advisory Committee’s (CSAC) – seemed to demonstrate political bias in favor of one of the sides participating in those elections.
The report based on the internal documents lists DHS officials, Vijaya Gadde, formerly Twitter’s chief legal officer, University of Washington professor Kate Starbird and former DHS official and Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) adviser Suzanne Spaulding among the subcommittee’s members.
Gadde is said to have often come under criticism for Twitter’s censorship of conservatives while she was still working for the social platform – very notably for her role in the scandal around the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.
As for Starbird, she was known for publicly strongly criticizing former President Trump and Republicans on Facebook (detecting even “undertones of white supremacy” there), and in general for her left-wing activism.
But that wasn’t enough, and so the subcommittee sought to bring in progressive researchers, including what the report describes as a major Democratic donor to extend their funding to CISA.
It is also noted that the DHS has an “advisory” role in online censorship, by not directly engaging in it but guiding others, social sites included, on how to deal with what’s perceived as misinformation. CISA has denied that it has been involved in direct demands to censor content.