Homeland security officials in the Biden administration enlisted the help of progressive organizations as they sought to combat misinformation leading up to the 2022 midterm elections, according to a new report from the Daily Caller.
An advisory panel convened by the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA), a subset of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), began its work in December 2021 reaching out to individuals and groups linked to Democratic causes. Members of the panel include former Twitter legal counsel Vijaya Gadde, University of Washington professor Kate Starbird, and Suzanne Spaulding from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Gadde, perhaps the most prominent member, was known publicly for supporting the decision by Twitter to ban former President Donald Trump from its platform following the 2020 elections.
Together, the group was tasked with advising CISA on how to combat information perceived as untruthful in the areas of public health, elections, financial markets, and the court system. The agency previously received $185 million as part of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill to educate state and local governments about cybersecurity threats.
The panel’s resources page lists partisan organizations among those guilty of peddling false narratives. Meeting minutes and notes obtained by the Caller show the panel targeted “progressive” researchers for partnerships and courted a major Democratic Party donor to support its efforts.
While DHS and its subsidiaries do not directly stifle profiles or news sites it may consider untruthful, the agency regularly holds roundtables with tech companies who are advised on how to combat misinformation.
A spokesman for CISA said the agency provides “broad guidance” on dealing with foreign actors and disinformation but did not address evidence showing its affiliates were responsible for suppressing the voices of conservative outlets. One such group, the U.K.-based Global Disinformation Index (GDI), maintains a blacklist of websites that it uses to advise tech companies when it comes to choosing which articles to censor. Another affiliate, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), is funded heavily by progressive megadonor Pierre Omidyar, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The ISD has categorized as disinformation claims equating abortion to murder and calls to delay action on climate change if it leads to negative results for businesses and the economy.