This afternoon I will testify at the first hearing of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Below is my written testimony.
The Twitter Files raise serious questions of whether the United States government is now a partner in what may be the largest censorship system in our history. The involvement cuts across the Executive Branch, with confirmed coordination with agencies ranging from the CDC to the CIA. Even based on our limited knowledge, the size of this censorship system is breathtaking, and we only know of a fraction of its operations through the Twitter Files. Twitter has 450 million active users but it is still only ranked 15th in the number of users, after companies such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest. The assumption is that the government censorship program dovetailed with these other companies, which continue to refuse to share past communications or work with the government. Assuming that these efforts extended to these larger platforms, it is a government-supported censorship system that is unparalleled in history.
Regardless of how one comes out on the constitutional ramifications of the government’s role in the censorship system, there should not be debate over the dangers that it presents to our democracy. The United States government may be outsourcing censorship, but the impact is still inimical to free speech values that define our country.
It is my sincere hope that there is room for bipartisan agreement on exposing the past government involvement in censorship systems implemented by social media companies.
I also believe that we can have a civil and substantive discussion of these important questions. Despite our political divisions, we share a common article of faith in our Constitution. These are difficult questions arising as a very divisive time for our country. However, there are issues here that should transcend partisan politics as we work through the proper role of government in regulating speech. I look forward to joining these distinguished panelists.
Today there will be the two panels.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D., Md).
Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii
Mr. Thomas Baker, Former FBI Agent
Professor Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Law Center
Mr. Elliot Williams, Principal, the Raben Group
Ms. Nicole Parker, Former FBI Agent
Here is my written testimony: TURLEY.TESTIMONY.WEAPONIZATION