(Tony Sifert, Headline USA) On April 18, former members of the so-called “Intelligence Community” sent an open letter to Congress in an effort to stop pending antitrust legislation (S.2992, among others) that would prevent Big Tech companies from using their online platforms to kill competition.
The letter was published online by Punchbowl News the next day.
In the letter, the former intelligence officials make the flamboyant claim that “there is a battle brewing between authoritarianism and democracy,” and they praise Big Tech for having “accelerated their partnership with the U.S. government.”
The writers warn, however, that “U.S. policymakers must not inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S. technology platforms to counter increasing disinformation” with legislation like the aforementioned American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
In other words, as Glenn Greenwald wrote in response to the letter, the former intelligence officials argue that Big Tech’s “centralized censorship power is crucial to advancing U.S. foreign policy.”
Furthermore, Greenwald pointed out that “several of [the letters’ signatories] are themselves leading disinformation agents,” three of whom — James Clapper, Michael Morrell, and Leon Panetta — signed the infamous October, 2020, letter claiming that Hunter Biden‘s “laptop from hell” was “a Russian information operation.”
“This letter by former national security officials is, in one sense, an act of desperation,” Greenwald wrote. “Big Tech’s last hope is to keep the bill from reaching the floor where Senators would be forced to go on record.”
“Why would these former national security and intelligence officials be so devoted to preserving the unfettered power of Big Tech to control and censor the internet?” Greenwald continued.
“One obvious explanation is the standard one that always runs Washington: several of them have a financial interest in serving Big Tech’s agenda.”
According to Punchbowl, many of the letter’s signatories also “have financial ties to Big Tech companies,” including former Obama CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and former Obama Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson.
Panetta serves on the board of the software company Oracle, and Johnson’s “law firm has dealings with Amazon and Microsoft,” Punchbowl reported.