The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity agency has engaged in censorship, using the justification of “critical infrastructure security,” this is according to testimony from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. Landry appeared before the House Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government based on findings from the ongoing lawsuit, Louisiana and Missouri v. Biden et al.
Landry revealed that the DHS’s CISA, a/k/a Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, had designated American “thoughts, ideas, and beliefs” as “critical infrastructure.” Under the guise of controlling these “cognitive assets,” CISA and various federal agencies collaborate with private entities to engage in unconstitutional government censorship, bypassing the protections of the First Amendment.
Landry emphasized that the U.S. government and its officials are prohibited from circumventing the First Amendment by pressuring or colluding with private entities to suppress protected speech. However, this is precisely what has occurred through the federal censorship enterprise.
CISA portrays itself as the national coordinator for critical infrastructure security and resilience, claiming to address risks from foreign influence operations and disinformation. However, this security and surveillance apparatus, established initially to counter terrorism, has morphed into a domestic surveillance instrument now turned against American citizens.
Landry’s case has revealed a far-reaching censorship operation that manifests in attempts to manipulate election outcomes and silences dissenting voices, ranging from criticisms of Covid-19 lockdowns to allegations of FBI corruption. Landry stated that CISA acts as a conduit, channeling undesirable information from state and local officials to social media companies and ensuring that content moderation policies are enforced.
According to Landry, CISA and other government agencies employ three strategies to compel companies to engage in censorship: public pressure, coercion, and deception. These Orwellian tactics are pervasive. Social media companies regularly meet with federal officials to streamline and enhance censorship efforts related to content flagging, fact-checking, and reporting, even extending to parodies, comedy, and criticisms of the President. Although federal officials have accused social media companies of inadequate censorship, the result of this censorship enterprise has likely been the dissemination of false and misleading information during a global pandemic, potentially leading to loss of life.
Landry cautioned against allowing this government censorship to persist, but he noted that bad actors had achieved their censorship goals without facing the consequences. He called for accountability measures, including the termination of federal employment and forfeiture of retirement benefits for those who have betrayed their oaths of office by suppressing what the White House characterizes as “low-quality speech” from fellow Americans.
He also urged Congress to pass legislation criminalizing federal government censorship and providing recourse for silenced Americans, such as punitive and monetary damages against the censors.
Landry concluded that implementing these comprehensive measures is crucial to preventing widespread violations of Americans’ First Amendment rights.