The move came as part of a lawsuit that the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana filed against the government over collusion with Big Tech companies to censor people.
According to documents released as part of the case on August 31, more than 50 Biden administration officials in a dozen agencies have participated in pressuring Big Tech firms to crack down on what they claim is misinformation and censor their users.
However, many of the officials in question have not been cooperative. Not surprisingly, one person who has not been forthcoming is Dr. Fauci, who also serves as chief medical adviser to the president. The government maintains that Fauci should not have to answer questions or supply his records related to either of his roles. They have also tried to prevent Jean-Pierre from providing records and responses.
The new ruling on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty requires these parties to comply with the requests for records and questioning.
He said: “First, the requested information is obviously very relevant to Plaintiffs’ claims. Dr. Fauci’s communications would be relevant to Plaintiffs’ allegations in reference to alleged suppression of speech relating to the lab-leak theory of COVID-19’s origin, and to alleged suppression of speech about the efficiency of masks and COVID-19 lockdowns. Jean-Pierre’s communications as White House Press Secretary could be relevant to all of Plaintiffs’ examples.”
He referred to incidents such as the coordinated effort to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story in the lead-up to the presidential election of 2020 and censorship of claims that the COVID-19 virus stemmed from experiments in a Chinese lab.
Fauci and Jean-Pierre must comply with the request within 21 days. In addition, Fauci must supply full answers to questions about his role as the director of the NIAID.
A lawyer for some of the plaintiffs, Jenin Younes, noted that their previous round of discovery revealed that censorship efforts against those who disagree with the government regarding COVID-19 policies “come from the top.”
In a statement, she remarked: “Americans deserve to know Anthony Fauci’s participation in this enterprise, especially since he has publicly demanded that specific individuals, including two of our clients, Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, be censored on social media.
“It is time for Dr. Fauci to answer for his flagrant disregard for Americans’ constitutional rights and civil liberties,” she added.
Another agency that has been uncooperative with the suit is the NIAID’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Discovery revealed that key officials in the agency have taken part in what the plaintiffs refer to as a “censorship enterprise” and have been unwilling to provide documents and answers in the current legal battle.
They objected to requests to search for relevant records on the grounds that they were “unduly burdensome and disproportionate to the needs of the case." Although Doughty agreed that searching for records among 80,000 employees would be overly burdensome for the HHS, he maintained that the employees who were specifically identified in documents from the parent company of Facebook, Meta, must respond to the requests within 21 days.
There is no question that Big Tech and the major social media platforms have been engaging in censorship, and it is becoming increasingly clear just how willing they are to do so at the government's behest. By refusing to cooperate, many of the government officials who have a hand in these actions are only making themselves look even more culpable.
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