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Chairmen Green, Bishop Uncover New Evidence of DHS, Big Tech Collaborating to Censor Americans 

November 6, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) and Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability Chairman Dan Bishop (R-NC) announced new evidence of censorship laundering by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through its work with the “Election Integrity Partnership” (EIP), a group of four non-governmental organizations (NGOs) supposedly working to research “mis-, dis-, and mal-information” (MDM). Source documents provided to the Committee by a member of the partnership, the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), show this effort ultimately was used by the federal government and Big Tech to silence speech and limit the exercise of First Amendment freedoms. 

In June, Chairmen Green and Bishop sent a letter to SIO, seeking information on the organization’s work with the EIP and the Virality Project (VP) to help federal employees flag and suppress social media content related to the 2020 election. The numerous spreadsheets received by the Committee detail the scale of the “ticketing workflow management system” operated by SIO that facilitated discussions among EIP analysts and outside stakeholders, including the Center for Internet Security (CIS) and DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). In the information obtained, there is evidence of government employees, at times using their government email, helping these organizations flag or work to take down commentary on elections, labeling them as “misinformation.” 

Read more via Ben Weingarten in RealClearInvestigations.

“This is clear evidence that government employees helped the Election Integrity Partnership and Virality Project work with social media companies’ censorship of speech in the name of combating ‘misinformation,’ Chairman Green said. “It is astounding that an agency tasked with securing the homeland chose to spend taxpayer resources policing protected speech. It is even more alarming that an agency tasked with serving all Americans actively engaged in censorship efforts that were overwhelmingly partisan. As this nation faces a historic border crisis and growing threats at home from our adversaries, Americans need to know that DHS is committed to its crucial mission, not infringing on our First Amendment rights.”

“The bombshell evidence obtained by our committee makes it clear that the central purpose of the Election Integrity Partnership and Virality Project is to censor lawful speech. The ticket system shows the scale of the federal government’s censorship laundering schemes, despite claims that these efforts were focused on the ‘worst offenders’ and nothing but harmless ‘research’ – as if these groups get to make up the rules about who the ‘worst offenders’ are,” Subcommittee Chairman Bishop said. “One look at these documents shows the government and these organizations working hand-in-glove to suppress the speech of Americans regarding the 2020 elections, vaccine safety, and vaccine mandates. Officials searched for content to flag, forwarded flagged content to social media platforms – sometimes with the explicit expectation to remove the content – and solicited status updates on the ongoing censorship. When confronted, they used the veneer of these purportedly independent organizations to absolve themselves of blame, despite all the evidence to the contrary. This should appall anyone who cares about the freedom of speech. Homeland Republicans are committed to investigating and rooting out censorship laundering schemes and are pursuing all avenues to protect Americans’ First Amendment rights. While court rulings may provide some answers and boundaries for government agencies and social media companies, this Committee won’t rest until we get full transparency and accountability on this abuse. The First Amendment reigns supreme, even online.”

Key Highlights:

  • The tickets reveal discussions among EIP analysts and outside stakeholders, including CIS and DHS’s CISA.
    • Officials identified and nominated things to be flagged in the system, conducted research to make the case something represented MDM, forwarded flagged content to social media platforms, and corresponded with the platforms for status updates.
    • In some cases, this involved tweets misstating a voter registration deadline. But other tickets show how open this process was to interpretation and potential abuse for even the most innocuous statements. For example, one VP ticket claiming to address “conspiracy theories” regarding the COVID-19 Delta variant quoted a tweet saying, “It’s called the Delta variant because you have to be brain dead to believe it.” The ticket goes on to say, “Other less egregious undermining rhetoric has contended that the Delta variant sounds like the title of a conspiracy movie.”
  • The process by which alleged “MDM” was assessed before being forwarded for censorship is also problematic.
    • While in some cases the analysts at EIP or VP checked a claim against the appropriate government website, such as cross-checking polling place information with the relevant local election authority, in many cases they relied on mainstream media stories or biased and partisan “fact-checking” sites. 
    • The selection of what content was flagged was, at best, effectively driven by what an individual happened to stumble across, which speaks to the capriciousness with which content was ultimately taken down, despite claims that these efforts were focused on the “worst offenders.”
  • The tickets make clear that the central purpose of EIP and VP was to flag content and pass it to social media companies for the desired result of taking it down. 
    • The tickets show the back and forth between EIP and VP “analysts” and social media platforms as they discussed whether content would be taken down. This is reinforced by emails showing DHS and CISA personnel, who were on government time and using government resources, switchboarding between EIP or VP and social media companies. Some of those emails explicitly reference desires to take down content.
    • While SIO and others have tried to mask their efforts under the auspices of “research” and claimed that they were not responsible for taking down content, these tickets reveal the censorship laundering process. SIO and their partners were a foundational part of the process that led to censoring social media content of Americans.


In May, Subcommittee Chairman Bishop held a hearing to examine possible government overreach at CISA concerning MDM censorship. In the hearing, Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University Law School, testified that we now have “a censorship system of breathtaking size.” 

In June, Chairmen Green and Bishop also sent a letter to the Director of the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center at the Center for Internet Security (CIS) concerning its work to facilitate a “misinformation reporting system” between CISA and Big Tech. According to the organization’s after-action report, the portal helped CIS “facilitate interaction between election officials and their representatives, CISA, CIS, and social media platforms.”
In September, internal DHS memos surfaced showing the Department’s justification for the now-defunct ‘disinformation governance board,’ which was that DHS claimed they have the regulatory or statutory authority in the “the MDM Space.”