According to court documents, a Louisiana judge ordered the DHS to release files that could reveal five agents' alleged involvement in government efforts to suppress social media content deemed to contain "misinformation" about elections, according to a report by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
After learning of their participation in the Biden administration's counter-"disinformation" efforts, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry moved to release testimony from Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) employees Chad Josiah, Rob Schaul, Alex Zaheer, John Stafford, and Pierce Lowary, according to court documents dated Jan. 19.
The defendants, who include the named individuals as well as President Joe Biden and top officials from various federal agencies, are accused of colluding and/or coercing social media companies to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social media platforms by labeling the content "dis-information," "mis-information," and "mal-formation."
According to the documents, the five CISA employees allegedly served as a "switchboard" to route requests from federal agencies to censor disinformation to various social media companies.
Here, Twitter “actioned” (censored) accounts under their “civic integrity policies” after CISA flags them (7/10) pic.twitter.com/deTIwk1wmr
— Attorney General Andrew Bailey (@AGAndrewBailey) January 13, 2023
Switchboard work required “an audit official to identify something on social media they deemed to be disinformation aimed at their jurisdiction."
This according to top CISA election security agent Brian Skully's deposition, which was released Thursday. "They could send it to CISA, and CISA would share it with the relevant social media companies."
Skully's deposition detailed the participation of the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security's intelligence branch, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in meetings with executives of social media firms to combat online "misinformation" during the 2022 election cycle.
UPDATE: The judge granted our motion to compel. CISA has 14 days to comply. https://t.co/2bhwQQJTG6
— AG Jeff Landry (@AGJeffLandry) January 25, 2023
While the notices were meant to alert social media companies to attempts to spread disinformation on their platforms, "the idea was that they would make decisions on the content that was forwarded to them based on their policies," Skully explained.
According to the deposition, CISA also collaborated on "switchboarding" with the Center for Internet Security, a nonprofit aimed at protecting against cybersecurity threats that also serves as a regulatory role for election infrastructure and official election organizations.
The deposition demonstrated that the Biden administration "weaponized" CISA "to suppress domestic free speech," Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said in a statement released after the deposition was released. CISA was established by Congress in 2018 to combat cyber threats to critical digital and physical infrastructure.
The DHS did not immediately respond to reporter's request for comment.