Governor-Elect Hobbs Dictated Twitter Speech While Secretary of State

secretary of state

Court filings reveal that Governor-elect Katie Hobbs dictated Twitter’s content moderation while serving as secretary of state.

According to the emails disclosed in court filings, Hobbs’ office asked the Center for Information Security (CIS) to review two tweets posted by an account with 21 followers. Within 30 minutes, CIS tapped Twitter to handle the issue, who promised to “escalate.” Twitter resolved the issue several hours later by removing both tweets.

“These messages falsely assert that the Voter Registration System is owned and operated by foreign actors,” complained Hobbs’ office. “This is an attempt to further undermine confidence in the election institution in Arizona.”

The exchange occurred last January, the day after the attack at the Capitol.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) told The Washington Post that they don’t interfere in election-related speech online. Instead, the government agency told the outlet that it deferred to CIS to engage in those issues.

In 2021, CIS shared through its Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing & Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) year-end report that it was “uniquely positioned to handle both cybersecurity and misinformation reports to protect election infrastructure.” The nonprofit disclosed that it created a communications hub — called the Situation Awareness Room (SitRoom) — to identify and address 2020 election threats with federal, state, local, and private partners.

CIS used its EI-ISAC to coordinate election officials, federal partners, and social media platforms.

“The success of these efforts in the 2020 election established the foundation for expanded efforts on mis/disinformation reporting for future elections,” stated CIS.

CIS works with all 50 states in over 2,900 election offices nationwide.

CIS is a nonprofit founded in 2000; its president and CEO, John Gilligan, was formerly a senior intelligence and security advisor for the Air Force, Department of Energy, and White House Cyber Security Commission under the Obama administration. CIS has received around $196.5 million million in federal grants since 2010, and nearly $3.7 million in federal agency cybersecurity contracts since 2005.

The coordination between Hobbs and Twitter was revealed in court filings for a case before the Louisiana Western District Court: Missouri v. Biden. At issue in the case is whether President Joe Biden and his administration violated the First Amendment by directing social media companies’ censorship of speech pertaining to COVID-19.

Missouri v. Biden began in May, with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry declaring in the opening lines of their complaint that the Biden administration launched “one of [the] greatest assaults in the Nation’s history” on the freedom of speech.

Schmitt and Landry accused the Biden administration of threatening and cajoling social media companies to suppress speech. The Biden administration attempted to prevent public disclosure of internal communications. They argued that deposed individuals were “career civil servants” who didn’t ask for the scale of publicity prompted by this case, and may experience the alleged threats and harassment faced by other deponents.

Last month, the Louisiana Western District Court clarified that audiovisual recordings of Biden administration depositions would only remain under seal for five business days unless there’s a request to extend that seal. The court may deny that request.

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