Suburban pro-life moms spreading “conspiracy theories” and so-called anti-government suspects were two examples used in proposed training videos on “radicalization” allegedly drafted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) days after the Biden administration took office.
According to documents obtained by America First Legal Foundation through a Freedom of Information Act request, the department’s Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention outlined training videos that would train bystanders how to report “radicalization suspects” in a Choose Your Own Advenutre-style video series.
The document characterized a religiously devout, middle-aged suburban mom “concerned about the welfare of other children including the unborn” and an anti-government dad as potential extremists. Other examples used in the document include a white teenage male who hurls “racial epithets” and flashes a gun at his girlfriend and a young environmental activist.
Reed D. Rubinstein, senior counselor and director of investigations for America First Legal, accused the agency of transforming into a “Stasi-like Deep State internal security apparatus.”
“It is a very long way from ‘see something, say something’ regarding an unattended suitcase at the airport to profiling patriotic and politically conservative Americans as abusive parents and domestic terrorists because they oppose abortion on demand and voted for former President Trump,” Rubinstein said in a news release. “The agency is out of control.”
Mike Benz, executive director of Foundation For Online Freedom, said in a report that the so-called radicalized suspects targeted in the planning documents are typical American citizens rather than “violent terrorists or extremists.”
Benz, who formerly worked as a deputy assistant for internal communications and information policy for the U.S. State Department, argued that DHS officials planned on creating the videos to encourage citizens to police one another’s personal beliefs and report family members spreading so-called disinformation about COVID or expressing skepticism toward the U.S. government on social media.
“In other words, what DHS is doing is the epitome of weaponization of the federal government,” Benz said. “Teaching everyday American citizens to police the opinions and behavior of their peers via these online training products represents just one segment of a synchronized ‘whole-of-society’ censorship effort composed of private firms, universities, and the government that has been spearheaded by DHS to target emerging narratives being popularized among the public.”
The Biden Administration’s National Strategy For Countering Domestic Terrorism report in June 2021 noted DHS and others were “funding and implementing or planning evidence-based digital programming, including, enhancing media literacy and critical thinking skills, as a mechanism for strengthening user resilience to disinformation and misinformation online for domestic audiences.”
Last year, Biden officials launched the Disinformation Governance Board, which Mayorkas terminated over the summer after claiming it wouldn’t police opinions while facing backlash from lawmakers and the public.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) faced scrutiny earlier this year for allegedly turning a social media censorship division designed to monitor foreign accounts on the American people. According to the Twitter Files, big tech companies and the federal authorities coordinated tactics to monitor and censor Americans from spreading “mis-, dis-, and malinformation (MDM).”
“CISA officials knew they lacked the legal authorization to do what they did,” Benz told Fox News. “Now, CISA appears to be burying the evidence of its domestic censorship activities, right as oversight of potential malfeasance is heating up.”
Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability Chairman Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) accused President Biden and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of prioritizing censoring and suppressing free speech over national security.
“The dystopian ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ wasn’t an aberration — it was the tip of the iceberg of their censorship laundering schemes,” Bishop said in a news release.