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Judicial Watch: New Records Detail Federal-State Censorship Coordination in 2020 Election

(Washington, DC)Judicial Watch announced today it received 110 pages of heavily redacted records from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that show state election officials in the days before and after the 2020 election flagging online content deemed “misinformation” and sending it to the Center for Internet Security (CIS), a DHS-funded nonprofit, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), and others.

The records were obtained in response to a November 2022 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for records of communications between the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of DHS, and the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), which was created to suppress online election content for censorship and suppression (Judicial Watch Inc. vs. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:22-cv-03560 )). Judicial Watch filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after DHS failed to respond to an October 2022, FOIA request.

The newly obtained records include a November 4, 2020, email report from CIS “Misinformation Reports” to Brian Scully, head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Mis-, Dis-, Malinformation (MDM) branch, a division of DHS. The report originated in the Washington State secretary of state’s office and states:

I wanted to flag the following tweet: [handle redacted]. There is no evidence for the claim being made of a widespread mail-in fraud operation to benefit Democrats in swing states.

The flagged tweet reads:

A note to ALL CONSERVATIVE media people projecting Trump victories in swing states:

Yes, Republican turn out may be strong!

Yes, that’s good news.

From a mail in state veteran: The Democrats will wait to know how many votes they have to “find”, then, they will magically appear.

On November 12, 2020, Scully sends an email with subject line “Hammer and Scorecard Tweets” to individuals whose names are redacted and have a @gmail email address a @stanford.edu email address respectively. Scully introduces the “program manager for the EIP” at Stanford University and who is “a friend of Director Krebs” (former CISA Director Chris Krebs).

The Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), which was initially called the Election Misinformation Partnership, was created in the days leading up to the November 3, 2020, election. It tasked staffers with monitoring online election content 24 hours a day with a priority being “disinfo that is going viral.”

On January 19, 2021, Scully receives an email with subject line “Draft: COVID-19 What to Expect and 60-Day Plan” from an individual with a @stanford.edu email address (whose name is redacted): 

[Redacted] and I wanted to pass along SIO’s [Stanford Internet Observatory] vaccine misinfo what-to-expect and 60-day plan draft whitepaper for your feedback, find it attached. Please feel free to tear it apart — it is mainly based on our experience with EIP and the vaccine misinfo we’ve seen so far.

Two days later, a redacted sender from Stanford asks Scully to give feedback on an attached document, “Virality Project Jan 19 Vaccine Weekly Briefing,” which is not included with the responsive records provided to Judicial Watch.

On November 2, 2020, a person at Facebook’s U.S. Politics and Government Outreach whose name is redacted replies to “Misinformation Reports” at CIS, and CCs Scully, someone at CISA Central, someone at CFITF (CISA’s Counter Foreign Influence Task Force) and “[email protected]” with the subject “Facebook post alleging submitting multiple ballots fraudulently.” The Facebook official states: “On it now. Thanks!” regarding review of a social media post reported by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. The Facebook post is redacted. 

A November 4, 2020, email from Facebook is sent to “Misinformation Reports” at CIS, Scully, CISA Central, CFITF and “[email protected].” It states: “Received and looking into this,” regarding review of a social media post reported by a government official in Kentucky. The Facebook post is redacted.

In a separate November 4, 2020, email regarding a social media post reported by a Kentucky government official, a Facebook official writes: “Confirming that this has been closed out and the SoS has been notified. Thanks!” The Facebook post is redacted.

 “The records provide more disturbing evidence of a conspiracy by federal, state, and ‘private’ actors to censor Americans on social media during a presidential campaign,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch will continue to expose the government’s involvement in what is an ongoing and unprecedented attack on Americans’ First Amendment rights.” 

Judicial Watch has been in the forefront of uncovering government efforts to censor free speech and suppress opposition.

In January 2023, Judicial Watch sued DHS for failing to respond to an October 11, 2023, FOIA for all records regarding Judicial Watch and its President Tom Fitton held by DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

In December 2023, Judicial Watch received records from DHS that showed a close collaboration between CISA and the leftist Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) to engage in “real-time narrative tracking” on all major social media platforms in the days leading up to the 2020 election.

In November 2023, Judicial Watch obtained records from DHS showing that CISA communicated during the 2020 election campaign with the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), which was created to flag online election content for censorship and suppression. 

In October 2023, Judicial Watch sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) for records of any payments made by the FBI to Twitter (now known as X). The payments were disclosed in internal Twitter documents (the “Twitter Files”) made available by Elon Musk to journalists.

Also in October, Judicial Watch sued the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for records concerning censorship of social media users.

In April 2023, Judicial Watch filed two lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies for communications between the agencies and Facebook and Twitter regarding the government’s involvement in content moderation and censorship on the social media platforms. 

In a separate lawsuit file in June 2023, Judicial Watch sued DHS for all records of communications tied to the Election Integrity Partnership. Based on representations from the EIP (see here and here), the federal government, social media companies, the EIP, theCenter for Internet Security (a non-profit organization funded partly by DHS and the Defense Department) and numerous other leftist groups communicated privately via the Jira software platform developed by Atlassian.

In February 2023, Judicial Watch sued the U.S. Department Homeland Security (DHS) for records showing cooperation between the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) and social media platforms to censor and suppress free speech.

Judicial Watch in January 2023 sued the DOJ for records of communications between the FBI and social media sites regarding foreign influence in elections, as well as the Hunter Biden laptop story.

In September 2022, Judicial Watch sued the Secretary of State of the State of California for having YouTube censor a Judicial Watch election integrity video.

In May 2022, YouTube censored a Judicial Watch video about Biden corruption and election integrity issues in the 2020 election. Thevideo, titled “Impeach? Biden Corruption Threatens National Security,” was falsely determined to be “election misinformation” and removed by YouTube, and Judicial Watch’s YouTube account was suspended for a week. The video featured an interview of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. Judicial Watch continues to post its video content on its Rumble channel (https://rumble.com/vz7aof-fitton-impeach-biden-corruption-threatens-national-security.html).

In July 2021, Judicial Watch uncovered records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which revealed that Facebook coordinated closely with the CDC to control the Covid narrative and “misinformation” and that over $3.5 million in free advertising given to the CDC by social media companies.

In May 2021, Judicial Watch revealed documents showing that Iowa state officials pressured social media companies Twitter and Facebook to censor posts about the 2020 election.

In April 2021, Judicial Watch published documents revealing how California state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor posts about the 2020 election.

Judicial Watch has produced a four-part documentary, “Censored and Controlled,” that details the coordinated effort by the FBI and other government agencies and Big Tech to censor and suppress information on topics such as Hunter Biden’s laptop, Covid-19, and election debates.

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