Friday 18 August 2023

Jordan Subpoenas DOJ And FBI Leaders In ‘Big Tech Collusion’ Probe

 House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) announced on Thursday subpoenas against the leaders of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI as part of his investigation into alleged government collusion with Big Tech companies.

Cover letters sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray faulted their agencies with “woefully inadequate” responses to past requests for communications with private companies and other third-party groups.

“Numerous documents that have been made publicly available reflect the weaponization of the federal government’s power to censor speech online directly and by proxy,” Jordan said in each letter attached to a post to X on the “Censorship Investigation Over Big Tech Collusion.”

The chairman stressed that it is “necessary for Congress to gauge the extent to which” DOJ and FBI officials “have coerced, pressured, worked with, or relied upon social media and other tech companies to censor speech.”

“The scope of the Committee’s investigation includes understanding the extent and nature of” the DOJ’s and FBI’s “involvement in this censorship,” he added.

Though the subpoenas themselves were not disclosed in the release, Jordan’s letters said he demanded the committee’s “highest priority documents and information” while citing rules in Congress governing oversight that relates to protecting civil liberties.

Jordan’s letters make reference to an ongoing Missouri v. Biden case brought by GOP state attorneys general over alleged collusion between the federal government and social media companies to censor speech in violation of the First Amendment.


He said the DOJ and FBI have only so far produced a single document in response to his requests from April seeking voluntary cooperation for information on content moderation discussions: a publicly available transcript of a civil deposition of FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Elvis Chan from Missouri v. Biden.

“Through its investigation, the Committee has uncovered evidence that contradicts several statements in Agent Chan’s deposition, particularly as they relate to his communications with social media platforms,” Jordan noted.

“This production is woefully inadequate and omits voluminous responsive material, including communications between FBI and tech companies, internal communications, and communications between FBI and other executive branch entities,” Jordan wrote.

The Daily Wire reached out to the DOJ and FBI seeking comment.

“The Department, including the FBI, does not censor content on social media platforms,” a DOJ spokesperson said in response. “Private companies have the sole authority to make decisions to protect their platforms and users. As with all the Committee’s various requests, the Department remains committed to working with the Committee to fulfill their informational needs.”

“The FBI remains committed to cooperating with the committee in good faith. The FBI does not censor content on social media,” the FBI said in a statement. “We are a law enforcement and intelligence agency responsible for working with companies in a lawful way to protect our communities from child predators and terrorists, as well as hostile foreign countries like China, Russia, and Iran who are looking to exploit social media platforms to commit crimes or threaten national security. When the FBI identifies information that a hostile foreign actor is behind a social media account, we share that information with the company. Social media companies independently decide what, if any, action to take on their own platforms for their own customers.”

Jordan has already subpoenaed the heads of Big Tech companies Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft seeking documents and communications “relating to the federal government’s reported collusion with Big Tech to suppress free speech.”

Last month, the chairman began releasing internal Meta documents that he said were evidence of the White House improperly pressuring Facebook and Instagram into censoring posts, dubbing the disclosure “The Facebook Files.” The fourth installment explored how Chan allegedly made “completely false” statements during a congressional deposition about the FBI’s role in suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story on social media platforms during his November 2022 deposition.

A White House official told the Associated Press that the Biden administration “has promoted responsible actions to protect public health, safety, and security when confronted by challenges like a deadly pandemic and foreign attacks on our elections.”

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