Why Is Indiana’s Elections Chief Collaborating with CISA?

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Indiana Secretary of State Diego Morales met with the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)’s top official last week, engaging in discussions and photo-ops concerning “election security.”

It was described as a “productive” meeting according to a warmly-worded press release from the secretary’s office. CISA Director Jen Easterly, along with Morales and other state and federal election security officials, touched on topics ranging from advanced technology capabilities to addressing foreign threats, safeguarding election administrators, and disseminating accurate information about election infrastructure security.

All smiles and pleasantries. And collaboration. Lots of collaboration.

“As Indiana’s Chief Election Officer, we cannot be complacent in how we conduct our elections, and we must take precautions against any potential threats,” Morales stated.

But what if the threat comes from the very federal agency you’re working with?

‘Insidious’ Assault on Elections

There was no mention in the press release about CISA’s cooperation with Big Tech to suppress speech and meddle in U.S. elections. Whether Morales addressed any concerns over these suppressive activities remains unknown, as the secretary of state’s spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comments.

I emailed Morales’ office with the following questions:

Does the secretary have a comment on CISA’s alarming activities in silencing free speech and information about election law violations and irregularities? Is the secretary worried that partnering with a government agency that has suppressed “accurate information about election infrastructure security” might be problematic? Does the secretary fear that working with CISA could yield the same speech-suppressing results under the guise of combating “disinformation” — potentially harming conservatives and the foundational principles of the First Amendment?

Earlier this year, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, who is also a Republican, called out CISA and other agencies for what he described as the “worst election interference” in U.S. history.

“When our federal agencies lie to the American people, it’s the most insidious thing we can do in elections,” Warner told FBI and CISA officials during the February meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) in Washington, D.C., as reported by Wired.

Censorship ‘Nerve Center’

CISA, established in 2018 to ostensibly “protect ‘critical infrastructure’ and guard against cybersecurity threats,” has since involved itself in information management by partnering with Big Tech to suppress speech deemed as “disinformation”, “misinformation”, or “malinformation”. CISA has been behind efforts to censor those questioning everything from the administration of the 2020 elections to the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A report released last fall by the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government reveals how CISA “Colluded With Big Tech And ‘Disinformation’ Partners To Censor Americans.”

The report states that CISA “has facilitated the censorship of Americans directly and through third-party intermediaries,” adding that the agency has “metastasized into the nerve center of the federal government’s domestic surveillance and censorship operations on social media.”

A federal lawsuit filed by then-Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, now a U.S. senator, revealed concerning interactions between the Biden administration and private companies about removing information the government considered false or misleading. Last year, Louisiana District Judge Terry A. Doughty issued a preliminary injunction against these actions, claiming a “massive attack against free speech in United States’ history” by agencies including the Biden White House, FBI, CDC, and CISA.

The Biden administration quickly appealed, “ironically arguing that barring the government from censoring unfavorable speech via social media proxies actually censors the government,” as Ben Weingarten reported.

In early September, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld much of the lower court’s injunction, noting evidence of “a coordinated campaign” orchestrated by federal officials that threatened a fundamental aspect of American life. Initially, the court spared CISA but later extended the injunction to include the agency.

In October, the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court approved a Biden administration request to pause the injunction while the high court reviews the case. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch criticized the court’s order as “unreasoned” and “highly disturbing.” During oral arguments in March, a majority of the justices voiced concerns that curtailing the government’s ability to pressure Big Tech could hinder public protection efforts.

‘Our Continued Partnership’

And so, it continues. Easterly and her team at the “nerve center” of government surveillance and censorship are now reaching out to state and local officials, supposedly to assist in “protecting the integrity of elections and increasing voter confidence,” as stated by the Indiana secretary of state’s office.

“I’ve had the privilege of spending time with Chief Election Officials across the country from both parties and witnessing their tireless efforts to ensure that citizens’ votes are counted accurately. It’s why I have confidence in the integrity of our elections, and why the American people should as well,” Easterly said in the press release. “I’m especially grateful for Secretary Morales’ leadership and look forward to our continued partnership to ensure the security and resilience of our election infrastructure.”

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