Big Tech, Big Government Jackboots Trample Free Speech Rights

(Daily Signal)—Our own government has waged “psychological operations” and other attacks on the free speech rights of the American people.

That’s according to witnesses at a Thursday hearing of the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

The hearing was part of a series following up on last year’s disturbing revelations of the so-called Twitter Files.

Among the notable revelations during the massive data release from X, formerly known as Twitter, was that the U.S. government worked with Big Tech companies to manipulate public opinion and silence critics.

Journalist Matt Taibbi was asked by Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., what he thought was the most disturbing allegation against the government in his review of the Twitter Files.

“The regular stream, organized stream, of communication between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the largest tech companies in the country,” he replied.

Author Michael Shellenberger explained the techniques the federal government used to censor speech.

“My colleagues and I published the first batch of internal files from ‘The Cyber Threat Intelligence League,’ which show U.S. and U.K. military contractors working in 2019 and 2020 to both censor and turn sophisticated psychological operations and disinformation tactics, developed abroad, against the American people,” Shellenberger said, the Washington Examiner reported.

Shellenberger noted that while the First Amendment prohibits the government from impinging on the freedom of speech, and the Supreme Court has ruled against working with private parties toward the same ends, there is “now a large body of evidence proving that the government did precisely that.”

Federal courts have ruled against the Biden administration on this issue. In July, a federal appeals court ruled in Missouri v. Biden that what the administration did represented “the most massive attack against free speech in United States history.”

The court issued an injunction on the administration working with Big Tech companies. However, the Supreme Court paused the injunction in October, and the case will be reviewed by the justices.

In a dissent, Justice Samuel Alito said that stopping the injunction could be “giving the government a green light to use heavy-handed tactics to skew the presentation of views” on social media.

So the problem persists.

“The abuses of power my colleagues and I have documented go well beyond censorship,” Shellenberger said. “They also include what appears to be an effort by government officials and contractors, including the FBI, to frame certain individuals as posing a threat of domestic terrorism for their political beliefs.”

In a follow-up interview with Fox News on Friday, Shellenberger said that what the U.S. government did was similar to tactics it uses to go after foreign opponents. In this case, the state was turned on supporters of former President Donald Trump.

It’s funny how President Joe Biden and the Left always say that Trump is destroying democracy. They would know something about that, I suppose. They’ve turned attacks on democracy into a science.

That’s certainly one of the most disturbing and telling chapters in American history. That the federal government has been actively coordinating with private companies to crush domestic foes is in some ways worse than if the government just did it alone.

It means that many big companies, especially in Big Tech, are willing to make themselves an appendage of the federal government. The distinction between the government and the private sector has effectively been blurred.

Not only does it appear that Democrats and the Left want to put Biden’s 2020 and possibly 2024 presidential opponent in jail, it looks like they want to target Trump’s supporters, too.

What does that mean for elections in this country? Is even the idea of self-government becoming a farce as unelected federal bureaucrats manipulate public opinion on a whim and get whatever president they choose?

Whatever form of government that is, it’s a far cry from the limited constitutional republic this country was created to be.