Buck the Bureaucratic Supremacists

Freedom’s death march to serfdom hastens: The deep state that lied about “Russiagate” is now policing “disinformation.”

In a story broken earlier this week by The Intercept, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—largely through its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)—and the FBI engaged with Big Tech companies to censor Americans and interfere in the 2020 presidential election. Cloaked in the nebulous pretext that it is endeavoring to protect Americans from “misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation,” this insidious collusion between unaccountable bureaucrats and Big Tech companies is part of a continuing effort by federal apparatchiks to have Big Tech do what the government technically cannot do: stifle and criminalize dissent, and eradicate the God-given, constitutionally recognized and protected right to free speech.

Per The Intercept:

According to a draft copy of DHS’s Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, DHS’s capstone report outlining the department’s strategy and priorities in the coming years, the department plans to target ‘inaccurate information’ on a wide range of topics, including ‘the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.’

Patently, these targeted topics are worthy of public discussion and debate. Indeed, we are already seeing that those who swallowed the government’s approved information mask, line, and sinker, are asking for “amnesty” for being such gullible social bullies. It is also not a coincidence the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine are also political liabilities for the inept Biden Administration and the Democrats. But make no mistake. While there is a partisan bent to the bureaucracy, it will never subordinate its interests to any elected officials, not even the president.

Consider this timeline (kindly synopsized from The Intercept article by James Carafano), which chronicles the bureaucracy’s success in implementing and cementing its censorious ascendancy under the Trump Administration and spawned by a GOP congressional majority:

2018: After high-profile hacking incidents of U.S. firms, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act, ‘forming a new wing of DHS devoted to protecting critical national infrastructure.’

2018-2019: DHS started talking with and advising social media companies about voting-related disinformation appearing on their platforms a lot more.

2020: ‘Prior to the 2020 election, tech companies including Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, Wikipedia, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Verizon Media met on a monthly basis with the FBI, CISA [DHS], and other government representatives.’

2020: Disinformation efforts around COVID ramped up. The DHS Threat Assessment expanded these.’

Then note how the apparatchiks made their move for permanent institutionalization under the Biden regime: “In January 2021, CISA replaced the Countering Foreign Influence Task force with the ‘Misinformation, Disinformation and Malinformation’ team, which was created ‘to promote more flexibility to focus on general MDM.”

It’s worth noting how—at a time when the Left was demanding the public shunning and cancellation of Trump Administration officials—Big Tech was more than happy to collude with the bureaucracy to suppress and censor speech. If President Trump was the tyrant the Left portrayed, such meetings would never have occurred. It’s likely even the requests would have been leaked to the corporate media to further smear Trump as an authoritarian. The only conclusion is that the bureaucracy believed it had the insularity and power to implement its own censorship regime and undermine a duly elected president—so it colluded with Big Tech to do so. Ultimately, as the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story showed, the bureaucracy was correct. It does have this power, just not legitimately.  

For those apparatchiks implementing this censorship, when they say “government,” they are not talking about those transitory officials publicly elected; they are talking about the unaccountable bureaucracy—i.e., themselves.

Carafano notes how Laura Dehmlow, an FBI official, warned during a March meeting that “the threat of subversive information on social media could undermine support for the U.S. government. Dehmlow, according to notes of the discussion attended by senior executives from Twitter and JPMorgan Chase, stressed that ‘we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.’”

But wait, there’s more: “According to DHS meeting minutes from March, the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force this year includes 80 individuals focused on curbing ‘subversive data utilized to drive a wedge between the populace and the government.’”

As anyone who ever publicly expressed dissatisfaction with an elected official knows, the entire purpose of dissent is precisely to undermine support for the existing government and its officials. But one doesn’t have to take my word for it. Ask any Democrat who “resisted” Trump. Of course, these apparatchiks understand this, which is why they aren’t fans of dissent. Consequently, who will ensure the “media infrastructure” is “held accountable” in their understanding of things? A government of the bureaucrats, by the bureaucrats, and for the bureaucrats. Moreover, when a government is going fascist, it goes whole hog.

As such, there will also be thinly veiled propaganda spewed through obedient NGOs: “Geoff Hale, the director of the Election Security Initiative at CISA, recommended the use of third-party information-sharing nonprofits as a ‘clearing house for trust information to avoid the appearance of government propaganda.’”

In shaping this state-sanctioned “information ecosystem,” the government argues that it merely suggests to Big Tech what aspects of free speech should be flagged and stifled. This is akin to a Mafia racketeer “suggesting” your business might want to pay for that “extra fire insurance.” Actually, this comparison may not be fair, as many in Big Tech are more than happy to play God with what you may see and consider. And government making such “suggestions” is, in itself, unconstitutional; it has an inherent chilling effect both on the purveyor and the speaker.

Not that these fascist bureaucrats give a rip about the Constitution, let alone statutes, or congressional oversight. After all, no statutory power exists that would allow the bureaucracy to seize these arbitrary and capricious powers. Bluntly, they have usurped them due to the obliviousness of the Trump Administration and, subsequently, with the connivance of Biden Administration, which has condoned turning powers intended to prevent foreign threats against the American people—or at least those citizens who express dissent and lack a sufficient “faith in government.”

Per The Intercept, consider Joe Biden’s novel “National Security Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism”:

The strategy identified a ‘broader priority: enhancing faith in government and addressing the extreme polarization, fueled by a crisis of disinformation and misinformation often channeled through social media platforms, which can tear Americans apart and lead some to violence.

We are working with like-minded governments, civil society, and the technology sector to address terrorist and violent extremist content online, including through innovative research collaborations . . . [and] addressing the crisis of disinformation and misinformation, often channeled through social and other media platforms, that can fuel extreme polarization and lead some individuals to violence.

One supposes we should thank Biden and his bureaucratic minders for providing an exhaustive list of authoritarian pretexts for censorship and criminalizing dissent. So, too, in the same document, they have also bluntly stated how their drive to censor and criminalize dissent will proceed apace:

While ‘counterterrorism remains the first and most important mission of the Department,’ it notes, the agency’s ‘work on these missions is evolving and dynamic’ and must now adapt to terror threats ‘exacerbated by misinformation and disinformation spread online’ including by ‘domestic violent extremists.’

Yet, what of the violence of the mind? Where aspiring totalitarians destroy not only free speech, or freedom of conscience, but freedom of thought itself? To wit:

Jen Easterly, Biden’s appointed director of CISA, swiftly made it clear that she would continue to shift resources in the agency to combat the spread of dangerous forms of information on social media. ‘One could argue we’re in the business of critical infrastructure, and the most critical infrastructure is our cognitive infrastructure, so building that resilience to misinformation and disinformation, I think, is incredibly important.’

The arrogance is breathtaking, even by bureaucratic standards. Once deemed civil servants, the bureaucracy has come to view itself as sovereign and superior with mastery over your money and mind. There can be no parlaying with such hubristic apparatchiks. The public must buck the bureaucratic supremacists. From the shadows, they and their metastasizing totalitarian regime of systemic censorship and propaganda must be unmasked, uprooted, and undone.

For there is nothing more extreme than government “content moderation.” There is nothing more dangerous than government censorship. There is nothing that spurs more public distrust than arbitrary and capricious government. And there is nothing more deadly to our republic and her free people than a government that believes it has the power and the right to control your mind.

About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

Photo: Getty Images

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