Rand Paul Rips DHS Over Big Tech Collusion to Muzzle Speech on COVID-19

April 19th, 2023 5:23 PM

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) drew attention to the hypocrisy of the federal government which he called “the greatest purveyor of disinformation” at a Tuesday hearing.

The senator referred to the Department of Homeland Security’s recently uncovered censorship exploits with regard to COVID-19 information before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “In reality, the most significant source of disinformation during the pandemic, with the most influence and greatest impact on people’s lives, was the U.S. government,” he said. The hearing was held to discuss the DHS budget. Sen. Paul specifically singled out the agency saying that “What should terrify every American is that the full extent of DHS’s abuse of its power against its own citizens are still largely unknown.”

Sen. Paul decried that the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) “was employed to surveil and censor American citizens’ social media for what it concluded to be ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation.’” The senator later stressed DHS’s misplaced priorities. “Instead of focusing on real threats,” he said, “DHS was internally strategizing on how it can expand social media censorship of Americans using third-party nonprofits as, in the words of a CISA official [Geoff Hale], a “clearing house for information to avoid the appearance of government propaganda.” 

Paul gave examples of the mass censorship of COVID-19-related speech which he himself experienced when YouTube removed two of his videos for his comments on masking. “Statements, including my own, that were once labeled by our government as ‘disinformation,’ such as opinions of the efficacy of masks, naturally acquired immunity, and the origins of COVID-19, are now supported by the majority of people by the evidence,” he said. 

Sen. Paul added that  “This is something that shouldn’t happen in a free country and it’s contrary to the spirit and the law of the first amendment.” 

The lawmaker also referenced a 2021 cartoon video put out by CISA titled “Countering Disinformation in Social Media." According to archive.org records, the video was eventually unlisted and deleted from the platform within the last 10 days

“DHS even put out a video encouraging children to report their own family members to Facebook for ‘disinformation’ if they challenge US government narratives on Covid-19,” he said. “Does that not sound like something out of 1984? Does that not sound like something out of Stalin’s Russia that our government’s trying to get our kids to report their parents? I mean that’s crazy.”   

The DHS has yet to investigate the origins of the virus, Sen. Paul added. “All this was occurring during what was likely the greatest national security threat to our nation in modern history – a global pandemic that killed millions of Americans,” he said. “To our knowledge, we know of no delving into this by the DHS. Where did the virus come from? If it came from a lab, wouldn’t that be a bio-security threat? Isn’t that somehow under the purview of the DHS?”

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