‘Weaponization’ against the American people ‘should concern everyone’
President Joe Biden’s National Security Council (NSC) meetings with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about COVID-19 disinformation in 2021, according to documents obtained in an America First Legal (AFL) lawsuit.
After the Kaiser Family Foundation published its latest State of Vaccine Confidence Insights Report — a report it routinely produced for the Biden administration — in May 2021, Elisabeth Wilhelm, a “Vaccine Confidence Specialist” at the CDC, shared it with numerous CDC and White House officials, according to emails obtained by AFL. This prompted a meeting between agencies of the federal government, including the CDC and the NSC, about the vaccine disinformation, according to heavily redacted emails.
“The more information that our litigation uncovers, the worse the picture becomes. The weaponization of the tools and tactics of the national security apparatus against the American people should concern everyone,” Gene Hamilton, America First Legal Vice-President and General Counsel, said in a statement. “If the Biden Administration is willing to weaponize the federal government against the American people to advance its preferred political narrative about the COVID shot, it is safe to assume that it will do so in other areas, too.”
The NSC, CDC and Census Bureau hosted an unclassified call with the “interagency,” which, according to AFL, means all agencies of the federal government, June 2, to discuss their processes to “identify, counter and build resilience to disinformation,” according to the documents. A heavily redacted email obtained by AFL said that “all departments and agencies [we]re encouraged to” attend.
“We’re happy to speak with any agency about our process, what we’re doing domestically and globally” to “pre-bunk misinformation,” Wilhelm wrote in a follow-up email after the meeting, according to AFL. Despite the apparent willingness to share this information between government agencies, the CDC withheld all 26 pages of attachments from a separate follow-up email, according to AFL.
The Census has been working to fight disinformation and misinformation since 2020 with the help of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, according to AFL’s documents. The center’s mission is to “direct, lead, synchronize, integrate, and coordinate U.S. Federal Government efforts to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining or influencing the policies, security, or stability of the United States, its allies, and partner nations,” according to its website.
Similarly, a mid-June email from the NSC to the CDC, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and State Department titled “Efforts to Counter COVID disinfo” was entirely redacted before it was shared with AFL.
Soon after, the NSC held a July 6 meeting on servers run out of the White House Situation Room to discuss efforts to counter COVID disinformation domestically, according to AFL; two special assistants to the president were present.
Then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki discussed the White House’s efforts to work with social media companies to remove “problematic” information from the internet at a press briefing soon after.
Biden administration officials repeatedly questioned Facebook’s decision to not completely censor a video posted by Tucker Carlson criticizing COVID-19 vaccines in April 2021, suggesting that the company was encouraging violent behavior and responsible for the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” according to emails released in January 2023.
The AFL characterized these efforts as a coordinated attempt by the Biden administration to use intelligence tools against Americans to stifle their speech.
The White House, NSC, State Department, Psaki and the CDC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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