House Committee Wants FBI Agent To Testify On Alleged Online Censorship

The House Judiciary Committee recently asked a federal judge to require a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent to comply with a subpoena, forcing him to testify before Congress on alleged attempts by the federal government to censor online speech.

The committee filed its request in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking a judge to order FBI agent Elvis Chan to testify.

Just the News reported that Chan is the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI San Francisco Division’s cyber branch.

The House Judiciary Committee believes that Chan’s role provided the FBI agent with sensitive information about the bureau’s collaborations with social media platforms, such as Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter. Such interactions between the agency and the platforms come amid allegations that the federal government suppressed online speech.

In December 2022, journalist Michael Shellenberger published a series of documents revealing that Chan and other FBI employees warned Twitter about a Russian hacking organization before the 2020 presidential election.

The GOP-led committee previously filed a lawsuit against Chan for refusing to comply with the subpoena, accusing the longtime FBI agent of disrupting its investigation of alleged social media censorship practices by skipping a deposition.

Chan is cited as a “pivotal figure” in the committee’s investigation of allegations that the federal government worked to influence social media companies into censoring online speech, particularly against conservatives.

“Chan described himself as ‘one of the primary people with pass-through information,’ information that the companies used when deciding whether to restrict online content,” the committee wrote, according to the Washington Examiner.

In its lawsuit, the committee wrote that Chan “led a team of other FBI agents who regularly communicated with social media companies about ‘disinformation.’”

The committee’s lawsuit against Chan came after it released a social media post in September 2023 indicating that negotiations between the FBI agent, the agency and the Department of Justice (DOJ) were unproductive and communications between the three parties involved had increased dramatically.

In September 2023, the DOJ sent the committee a letter, citing a Trump-era policy position that labeled attempts to exclude department lawyers from specific depositions unconstitutional.

“A congressional subpoena that purports to compel testimony on matters within the scope of an agency employee’s official duties, including potentially privileged information, without the presence of agency counsel is without legal effect and cannot constitutionally be enforced,” the department wrote.

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