The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway and Sean Davis were among several prominent conservatives targeted by a federal censorship operation carried out during the 2020 election, according to a new bombshell congressional report.
Released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on Monday, the interim report documents how the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Global Engagement Center (GEC), which fall within the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, respectively, colluded with Stanford University to pressure Big Tech companies into censoring what they claimed to be “disinformation” during the 2020 election.
According to the analysis, this operation aimed to censor “true information, jokes and satire, and political opinions,” with prominent conservatives such as Hemingway and Davis being among the prime targets. Other notable targets include the social media accounts of former President Donald Trump, Newsmax, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Harmeet Dhillon, and Charlie Kirk, to name a few.
As The Federalist previously reported, CISA, which is often called the “nerve center” of the federal government’s censorship operation, “facilitated meetings between Big Tech companies, and national security and law enforcement agencies to address ‘mis-, dis-, and mal-information’ on social media platforms.” Ahead of the 2020 contest, the agency ramped up its censorship efforts by flagging posts for Big Tech companies it claimed were worthy of being censored, some of which called into question the security of voting practices such as mass, unsupervised mail-in voting.
Meanwhile, as The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland reported, GEC “funded the development of censorship tools and used ‘government employees to act as sales reps pitching the censorship products to Big Tech.’” One of these GEC-funded nongovernmental entities is the Global Disinformation Index, a so-called “disinformation” tracking organization “working to blacklist and defund conservative news sites,” including The Federalist.
At the heart of the federal government’s censorship apparatus, however, was the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), “a consortium of ‘disinformation’ academics led by Stanford University’s Stanford Internet Observatory” that coordinated with DHS and GEC “to monitor and censor Americans’ online speech in advance of the 2020 presidential election.” According to House Republicans’ Monday report, the initiative was developed “at the request” of CISA during the summer of 2020 and effectively allowed federal officials to “launder [their] censorship activities in hopes of bypassing both the First Amendment and public scrutiny.”
During the 2020 election, federal agencies and government-funded entities submitted so-called “misinformation reports” to EIP. Once acquired, EIP misinformation “analysts” would take posts flagged by the aforementioned entities, find similar examples on other Big Tech platforms, compile them into reports, and forward them to these same platforms “with specific recommendations on how [they] should censor the posts.” These EIP reports, which were known as “Jira tickets,” were hidden from the public and “accessible only to select parties, including federal agencies, universities, and Big Tech,” according to the report.
Among the posts flagged by EIP is a Nov. 4, 2020, tweet from Hemingway, in which The Federalist editor-in-chief reported claims from Georgia insiders who said it was “ridiculous [the] media are refusing to admit Trump has won the state.” The tweet also included a link to an Insider Advantage article calling Georgia for Trump. Another Hemingway post classified as “misinformation” by EIP is a Nov. 8, 2020, tweet linking to a Federalist article titled, “America Won’t Trust Elections Until The Voter Fraud Is Investigated.”
Meanwhile, EIP flagged a Nov. 4, 2020, tweet thread by Davis reporting how Pennsylvania’s Democrat-controlled Supreme Court “gave Pennsylvania Democrats a license to print post-election ballots, fill them out for Biden over the next three days, and record them without a postmark.” The censors also flagged another Nov. 4, 2020, tweet, in which Davis claimed “The absolute best evidence right now that Democrats, media, and Big Tech are conspiring to steal the election is Big Tech censoring anyone and everyone who observes that Big Tech is using corrupt censorship to steal the election for Democrats.”
But it’s not just reporting and claims about the 2020 election that EIP censors were flagging as so-called “misinformation.” Several examples highlighted in House Republicans’ report demonstrate the willingness of federal officials to censor users posting other truthful or satirical information.
In one instance, EIP analysts requested that Twitter, which has since been rebranded as X, censor a Nov. 4, 2020, tweet from Tillis thanking his supporters for propelling him to victory because EIP “deemed his declaration of victory to be premature” despite Tillis winning reelection. In another case, EIP censors flagged an Oct. 24, 2020, tweet from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who jokingly claimed he filled out and submitted mail-in ballots on behalf of his deceased relatives.
“The suppression of conservative politicians and media resulting from this censorship operation deprived countless American voters from exposure to a range of perspectives on the most important political issues in the days and weeks surrounding a general election,” the report reads. “Critically, the EIP conducted its censorship operation at the direction of, in collaboration with CISA, a federal government agency actively seeking to undermine free expression and the sitting President. The significance of these facts cannot be overstated.”