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Top Homeland Security Official: Tech Censorship Is ‘Grave Threat To National Security’
Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., speaks via videoconference during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. The heads of America's big internet companies will defend legal protections granted to the industry today when they testify before a congressional committee about social media's role in moderating speech online.
Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, the No. 2 official at the department, warned Monday that cancel culture and censorship from tech companies are serious threats to U.S. national security.

Cuccinelli “said it’s not just Twitter’s decision last week to shut down the account of the department’s border chief after he posted a message saying that the border wall can stop gang members and murderers,” The Washington Times reported. “He pointed to Hootsuite, a social media company that canceled its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in September after company employees rebelled at the association.”

Cuccinelli said, “Big Tech would rather see Americans victimized than admit they were wrong.”

Cuccinelli said that Twitter censoring the Twitter account of Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan represented a “grave threat to national security.”

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf slammed Dorsey in a letter late last week, saying that his “censorship poses a threat to our security.”

Wolf’s letter stated:

I write to you about Twitter’s recent censorship of Mark Morgan, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Not only was Twitter’s act of censorship unjustified—the tweet is supported by data—it is disturbing. As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other Federal agencies continue to rely on Twitter to share important information with the U.S. public, your censorship poses a threat to our security.

Hours after you concluded testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 28, 2020, Twitter suspended Mr. Morgan for tweeting: “CBP & U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continue to build new wall every day. Every mile helps us stop gang members, murderers, sexual predators, and drugs from entering our country. It’s a fact, walls work.” Twitter’s moderators, apparently triggered by the tweet, emailed Mr. Morgan to say, “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” The Acting Commissioner’s tweet did none of these things. Read it. Watch the video.

The fact that the tweet was removed and the account locked is startling. It is hard to understand how anyone believed Mr. Morgan’s tweet promoted violence, threats or harassment. Especially considering that the facts about the border wall system support the tweet.

Whether you know it or not, CBP guards the front line of the American homeland. CBP repels and arrests thousands of violent criminal gang members each year. CBP rescues young girls who are forced into cross-border sex trafficking. CBP intercepts dangerous drugs and contraband, including enough of the opioid fentanyl to kill every man, woman, and child in the United States several times over. CBP fulfills the United States’ most obvious and essential law enforcement and national security responsibility to the people of our country. Your company may choose to be ignorant of these facts, but it is no less censorship when you choose to suppress them.

There was no reason to remove Mr. Morgan’s tweet from your platform, other than ideological disagreement with the speaker. Such censorship is disturbing. Twitter’s conduct censoring U.S. government officials also endangers the national security. It is dangerous and damaging when any publisher arbitrarily and unfoundedly decides, as it did here, that the facts and policies of a particular Presidential Administration constitute “violence”—in order to censor them. And in the case of Twitter, this can cut off an essential mode of communication between U.S. Government officials and the public. In doing so, Twitter is sabotaging public discourse regarding important national and homeland security issues.

Further, it is clear that Twitter’s gross censorship was intentional, not accidental. Twitter notified CBP that it had censored Mr. Morgan’s message and locked his account. In response, CBP communicated with Twitter’s office of government affairs, and also appealed Twitter’s censorship decision. But Twitter denied the appeal. And Twitter’s office of government affairs ignored CBP’s communications. Only after CBP reached out to Twitter’s office of government affairs a second time and went public with this censorship, then finally Twitter admitted its bad judgment and unlocked the account.

I call on you to commit to never again censoring content on your platform and obstructing Americans’ unalienable right to communicate with each other and with their government and its officials, including the thousands of law enforcement officers at the DHS who work vigilantly and diligently to protect your safety every day.

Morgan joined Fox News late last week to discuss Twitter’s censorship, saying that it was “obvious” what Twitter was trying to do.

“With just days left in the election, what they saw was the immigration narrative shift to show what the president has done and the success that he’s had. That’s what they were trying to stop. That’s what they were trying to censor,” Morgan said. “What every American should be concerned about is Jack. That man gets to decide. He’s the judge, jury, and executioner about what is appropriate to say or not … that is un-American.”

Morgan added, “He should not have that ability and we should all be united to make sure this ends.”

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