Watchdog Sues to Expose One of the Government’s Top ‘Truth Cops’
- December 8, 2022
Withheld records involve key UW official at center of outsourced government censorship apparatus
Today, independent watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust announced lawsuits against the State of Washington for withholding records related to Kate Starbird, a top censorship official employed at the University of Washington. The request seeks to understand what role Dr. Starbird played in suppressing the free speech of law-abiding Americans discussing the 2020 and 2022 elections, COVID-19 policies, and the Biden Administration’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
Several media outlets have covered the lawsuit brought by the Missouri and Louisiana Attorneys General seeking the role Big Tech played in censoring Americans on social media. Many of these reports appear to validate findings from the Foundation for Freedom Online (FFO), one of the authoritative voices on online censorship, whose Executive Director, Mike Benz, has released several reports detailing the extensive censorship apparatus. The apparatus targets what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has deemed “dis-, mis-, or mal-information.” The recent and pending releases of information from Twitter regarding coordination between that platform and government and political forces to stifle speech further heightens the public interest in the release of these records.
Many of DHS’ censorship efforts appear to be directed out of their Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) office. CISA is led by Director Jen Easterly whom PPT recently alleged appeared to violate ethics rules prohibiting endorsement of private parties and commercial merchandise. Through information uncovered by FFO and other sources familiar with government censorship, both CISA and its private sector partners appear fully aware that the censorship operation they are carrying out is intended to circumvent the U.S. Constitution.
FFO discovered evidence that censorship participants appeared to admit their operation was intended to deputize non-governmental partners to “fill the gap of the things that the government could not do themselves” because the government “lacked…the legal authorizations.” The public records requests submitted in the Fall by PPT and others have led to claims by Dr. Starbird that it would take her years to provide all the records revealing her funding relationship and censorship efforts undertaken at the behest of federal government partners.
“The records in Washington State may be one of the few windows into the censorship machine created by the government to outsource, and thus plausibly deny, efforts to violate Americans’ free speech rights,” Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust stated. “Too many voices have been silenced by this taxpayer-funded Orwellian ‘disinformation industry.’ It’s time the public learns how Dr. Starbird and her partners in Big Tech, federal agencies, and major universities spent these taxpayer dollars and what direction she and her cohorts received instructing them to censor law-abiding American citizens’ dissenting opinions.”