The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) met weekly with large social media platforms to collaborate on moderating content, according to a deposition this week from FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan.
Chan, who was one of the two FBI agents who contacted Facebook ahead of its censoring of the Hunter Biden laptop warning of potential Russian disinformation operations, said that the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) officials met weekly with social media companies to remove specific accounts ahead of the 2020 presidential election, according to his deposition cited by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.
The deposition was part of a lawsuit filed against the Biden administration for allegedly censoring Americans’ speech in the name of “misinformation” led by Schmitt and Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry of Louisiana.
“Since filing our lawsuit, we’ve uncovered troves of discovery that show a massive ‘censorship enterprise,” Schmitt said. “Now we’re deposing top government officials, and we’re one of the first to get a look under the hood – the information we’ve uncovered through those depositions has been shocking to say the least.”
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The two AGs filed their lawsuit against the Biden administration in May. Discovery was granted in July to allow the Republicans to gather documents from the Biden administration and social media companies. Deposition requests were approved in October.
Dr. Anthony Fauci was deposed on Nov. 23 and reportedly claimed not to recall key details about his role in helping social media companies censor content about COVID-19.
Chan reportedly stated that the meetings were once held quarterly but increased as the election neared to be headed “monthly” and then “weekly.” He also claimed that there “could potentially be a Russian ‘hack and leak’ operation shortly before the election.”
The FBI also allegedly sent a list of social media accounts to remove for posting “disinformation” and labeled them as “malign foreign influence operations.” They would then follow up if the accounts had been de-platformed or the posts had been removed.
“It’s clear from Tuesday’s deposition that the FBI has an extremely close role in working to censor freedom of speech,” Schmitt said. “Stay tuned.”
Landry said, “Americans should be angered that during the 2020 election cycle, federal agencies peddled information that has since been disproven.”
“This case is just one of the many steps we have taken to stand up for the First Amendment rights of our citizens,” he continued. “No American should be censored by the government.”
Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and former Senior COVID-19 Advisor Andrew Slavitt are also expected to testify.