House Judiciary Committee Subpoenas FBI Agent Over Claims of Government-Backed Censorship
Washington, D.C. — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has issued a subpoena against FBI Agent Elvis Chan, following Chan's cancellation of a planned appearance before the committee. The subpoena was released on Friday and cites concerns over government interference in the freedom of speech.
In the document, Chairman Jordan claims the Executive Branch has been involved in "coercing and colluding with companies and other intermediaries to censor speech." As a critical liaison between the FBI's Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) and social media companies, Chan is considered "uniquely positioned" to aid in the committee's investigation.
The chairman also pointed to collaborations between the federal government and major social media platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic to allegedly censor political opinions opposing their views. Jordan insisted that court proceedings and public reporting have "exposed how the federal government has pressured and colluded with Big Tech to censor certain viewpoints," potentially undermining First Amendment principles.
Jordan wrote,“It is necessary for Congress to gauge the extent to which FBI agents coerced, pressured, worked with, or relied upon social media and other tech companies to censor speech. The scope of the Committee’s investigation includes understanding the extent and nature of the FBI’s involvement in this censorship."
The subpoena was issued after Chan's scheduled transcribed interview with the committee was canceled due to a disagreement over protocol between the FBI and the committee. This action further stokes the flames of a hot-button issue at a time when a court case, Missouri vs Biden, is being closely watched. In that case, Republican-led states accuse the federal government of pressuring social media companies to censor opinions deemed as misinformation by the Biden Administration, particularly regarding COVID-19 vaccines and mask mandates.
The move by the House Judiciary Committee adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing debate over the role of social media in public discourse and the extent to which the government may be involved in curating or censoring content.