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Disinformation Inc: House GOP steps up Blinken State Department ‘censorship’ probe

EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans are widening the scope of their investigation into the Biden administration’s alleged ties to monitoring ‘censorship’ and ‘disinformation’ through a new demand for a trove of records of the Department of State.

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Friday issued subpoenas to the heads of three federal agencies, including the State Department’s interagency Global Compliance Center, aimed at uncovering the coordination government with social media companies on content moderation. Now, Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are asking the GEC for records on grants to entities tied to efforts to fight “disinformation” and “disinformation,” citing several lucrative awards in recent years, according to a letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday. and obtained by the Washington Examiner.


The letter, led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and signed by seven other Republicans, alleges that the GEC “continues to stray from its founding mission through its subsidized censorship of free speech and disfavored opinions” by handing over money to taxpayers. to groups such as the Global Disinformation Index, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab. The Washington Examiner revealed in February that GDI has blacklisted conservative media and pocketed $100,000 from the GEC in 2021.

“The GEC’s founding mission, indeed, was to provide a ready resource for the truth about America and our fight against global terrorism, particularly ISIS,” McCaul and Republicans, including Reps. Brian Mast (R-FL), Chris Smith (R). -NJ), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Keith Self (R-TX), Cory Mills (R-FL) and Ken Buck (R-CO), wrote in their letter to Blinken. “Therefore, we are forced to ask about the authority by which the GEC justifies its mission and the direction of its current evolutionary trajectory.”

In September 2022, the State Department’s inspector general found that the GEC was not taking adequate steps to thwart foreign threats and investigating how its grants are being used abroad. The GEC was founded in 2016 during the Obama administration, and its first head was then-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel, now an on-air analyst for MSNBC.

After that report, House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans decided to delay reauthorization of the GEC “until issues related to internal staffing, organizational structure, and policy priorities are resolved,” wrote the lawmakers in their Monday letter. The center is up for authorization in 2024, and several congressional staffers told the Washington Examiner that Republicans are still weighing their options, increasingly unhappy with the GEC’s ties to the “disinformation” monitoring industry .

Current GEC statutory authorities will expire on December 23, 2024, unless action is taken by Congress.

Monday’s letter cited several examples of the GEC’s role in aligning itself with that industry, including its decision to spend $275,000 in 2021 to produce a video game called Cat Park that “inoculates players against misinformation of the real world showing how sensationalized headlines, memes and manipulated media can be used to advance conspiracy theories and incite violence in the real world,” according to a leaked State Department memo obtained by the agency of censorship Foundation for Freedom Online.

Similarly, the GEC-funded GDI has alleged that the 10 “most at-risk” media outlets for disinformation are the American Spectator, Newsmax, the Federalist, the American Conservative, One America News, The Blaze, The Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, Reason and the New York Post. The GEC has also reportedly awarded tax dollars to the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab, which flagged more than 40,000 Twitter accounts in June 2021 that allegedly engaged in “inauthentic behavior” and promoted Hindi nationalism, according to documents released by journalist Matt Taibbi in March as part of the “Twitter Files.”

“The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits government officials from censoring disadvantaged speakers and viewpoints,” the Republicans wrote in their letter to Blinken. “Simply labeling speech as ‘disinformation’ or ‘misinformation’ does not eliminate First Amendment protections, and government officials cannot circumvent the First Amendment by inducing, threatening, and/or colluding with private entities to suppress protected speech.”

They demand that the GEC release all documents and communications by May 11 between itself and “any entity with a domestic presence in the United States, including the media, that mentions ‘disinformation,’ ‘disinformation,’ ‘disinformation.’ , ‘misinformation’, ‘ or ‘incorrect information'”.

Republicans are also seeking records on federal funds that have flowed to the Atlantic Council, GDI, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Digital Public Square, Alliance for Securing Democracy, Google Jigsaw, the U.S. German Marshall Fund and Moonshot CVE.

In addition, the letter demands emails and correspondence between GEC employees, contractors, consultants or subcontractors containing the keywords “misinformation,” “misinformation” or “incorrect information” in terms of the Washington Examiner, RealClearPolitics, Federalist, New York Post, and other conservative media.

“The preservation of the material is essential so that Congress can conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation into the actions of the GEC and the grantees to stifle, censor, and silence conservative speech under the guise of labeling it misinformation, disinformation, or disinformation,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.


The letter added: “Please notify all relevant current and former employees, colleagues, officials, contractors, subcontractors, and consultants who may have worked on documents, communications, or information that respond or may respond to this congressional inquiry . Thank you for your cooperation in this critical oversight matter.”

The State Department did not return a request for comment.

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