In a significant move to probe alleged government collusion with Big Tech, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, subpoenaed FBI agent Elvis Chan last week. The agent is accused of being the central intermediary between the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force and major tech companies like Facebook, coordinating efforts to suppress the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop just ahead of the 2020 election.
This comes after the Department of Justice (DOJ) effectively blocked Chan from giving a transcribed interview to lawmakers. The rules stipulated that Chan could bring either a personal attorney or an agency counsel. Still, the DOJ decided to show up with an agency attorney, making it impossible for the testimony to proceed. The FBI labeled this decision a “significant departure from normal procedures.”
The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed an FBI agent with knowledge of the agency's cooperation with Big Tech to suppress a story on Hunter Biden's laptop, following an attempt by the Department of Justice to block his testimony. https://t.co/djscTSMVUv https://t.co/djscTSMVUv
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) September 17, 2023
The subpoena, however, now mandates that Chan must testify before the committee while preventing any agency’s counsel from being present. Jordan emphasized the importance of this, stating, “As the primary liaison between the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) and social media companies, you are uniquely positioned to aid the Committee’s oversight.”
The Missouri v. Biden case has already put the spotlight on Chan’s conflicting accounts. Jordan released documents suggesting that Chan had a “secret ‘follow up’ call” with Facebook after claiming in a deposition that no such follow-up had occurred. With the subpoena in effect, the committee aims to reconcile these discrepancies.
Jordan has a long-standing concern about the government’s influence over social media platforms, outside of the controversy surrounding the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story. Last month, documents revealed that a White House official asked Facebook to diminish The Daily Wire’s reach and to promote more mainstream media outlets to align with the administration’s objectives, particularly concerning COVID-19 vaccines.
In a letter to Chan, Jordan outlined the Judiciary Committee’s broader objective: “Numerous documents that have been made publicly available reflect the weaponization of the federal government’s power to censor speech online directly and by proxy. 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.”
As the Biden administration turns to the Supreme Court to overturn lower court rulings that have stood against their attempts to control online content, Jordan’s subpoena brings the issue of government interference on social media platforms to the forefront. For conservatives who worry that their voices are being systematically silenced online, this new scrutiny on the part of Congress promises to be a pivotal moment.
In a society that cherishes free speech and open discourse, the actions of those in power must be transparent and accountable. While the left may argue that the administration’s actions are an exercise of the “bully pulpit,” many Americans would call it a fundamental challenge to the tenets of a democratic society. This subpoena isn’t just another chapter in the political drama; it’s an assertion that every American’s right to free speech should be non-negotiable.