FIRST ON FOX: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan on Tuesday asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to amend his testimony about the bureau’s efforts to stop “misinformation and disinformation” on social media.
In a letter to Wray obtained by Fox News Digital, Jordan, R-Ohio, said Wray last week made “several statements about the FBI’s actions relating to misinformation and disinformation that are contradicted by the findings of a federal court and information obtained by the Committee.
“We write to provide you with an opportunity to amend your testimony,” Jordan and Rep. Mike Johnson, the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, wrote.
Last week, Wray testified that the FBI’s “focus is on malign foreign disinformation … foreign hostile actors who engage in covert efforts to abuse … our social media platforms.”
Wray also testified that “the FBI is not in the business of moderating content or causing any social media company to suppress or censor” speech. He said the FBI may notify media companies about certain content but said the FBI is “very clear that it’s up to the social media companies to do something or not.”
But Jordan and Johnson said Wray’s testimony “conflicts” with findings of the federal court in Missouri v. Biden, which specifically said the FBI “flagged domestic speech as potential disinformation and that the FBI ‘significantly encouraged’ social media platforms to take certain actions with respect to content.”
The federal judge presiding over the case blocked key Biden administration agencies and departments this month from communicating with social media companies to avoid potential First Amendment violations. The Biden administration is asking a court to stay a preliminary injunction.
In the ruling, the court found that “‘Domestic disinformation’ was also flagged by the FBI for social media platforms. Just before the 2020 election, information would be passed from other field offices to the FBI 2020 election command post in San Francisco. The information sent would then be relayed to the social-media platforms where the accounts were detected.”
The ruling said the FBI made “no attempt to distinguish whether those reports of election disinformation were American or foreign,” and “actually [misled] social media companies in regard to the Hunter Biden laptop story.”
The lawmakers told Wray they have also obtained documents “showing that the FBI did more than merely notify social media companies about alleged disinformation.
“The FBI often followed up with the companies, requested that the companies notify the FBI if they removed the flagged accounts, and provided unsolicited input regarding whether content did or would violate the companies’ respective terms of service,” they wrote.
They pointed specifically to one email FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Francisco Cyber Branch Elvis Chan sent to Google employees regarding social media activity concerning the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“We anticipate the type of information we would be passing as tippers that would violate your terms of service,” Chan wrote.
Jordan and Johnson also said the FBI “also sought to ensure that its flagged content had, in fact, been taken down, even offering legal process to support the removal of content.”
They said in March 2022 that an FBI agent asked a Facebook employee, “Would you be able to tell me if these accounts were taken down, or if you need some legal process from us?”
“The FBI’s offer to provide ‘legal process’ for the flagged accounts, which, in this case included Americans engaging in lawful speech, does not comport with your assertion that the social media companies simply acted of their own volition with respect to the FBI’s referrals of accounts allegedly engaged in ‘disinformation,’” the lawmakers wrote.
Jordan and Johnson said Wray’s testimony “appears to be at odds with other information available to the committee.”
“Contrary to your testimony, the FBI did not passively relay information to the social media companies and leave it for the companies to decide what content moderation decisions to make,” they wrote. “Instead, the FBI was an active participant in this process — flagging content for companies, following up with them to ensure the content had been removed, and offering legal process for the content’s removal.”
Jordan and Johnson said the “discrepancy” between Wray’s testimony and the information the committee holds “leads us to conclude that either you misled the committee about the FBI’s interactions with social media companies, or that you were not fully aware of the egregious and unconstitutional actions of the FBI you administer.
“Either scenario is alarming. Accordingly, we invite you to amend your testimony.”