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Do the Democrats deserve to get at whistleblower testimony?
In the weaponization of government hearings today, Chairman Jim Jordan denied Democrats' demand for testimony. Mostly peaceful banter ensued. Anger meter: 10!
Today marked a critical day for the Special House Committee on the Weaponization of Government. FBI Whistleblowers testified in public for the first time. And the information they shared was alarming. It revealed disturbing information about a truly weaponized FBI intent upon causing harm to Americans who expresses narratives that oppose government actions related to a number of issues and events in recent years. The American people are well within their First Amendment right to challenge government actions and institutions and express those challenges in a public way.
Democrats asked some alarming questions. In one exchange, Cong. Linda Sanchez, (D-CA) asked whistleblower Marcus Allen a question about a Twitter account that he testified was not his. The account made the claim that “Nancy Pelosi staged January 6th.” Mr. Allen rightly refused to answer the question clearly presented to imply Mr. Allen accepted the theory. When pressed he replied he didn’t agree with the statement.
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In an exchange between Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Ranking Member Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), the Democrat member demanded to have access to the private interviews conducted by Republican Members and Staff with whistleblowers. In one specific instance, a whistleblower who had refused to be interviewed by Democrats prior to these public hearings wanted his direct testimony to Republicans to be kept private. The FBI agent was available for questions in live hearings at that moment. Republicans asserted the privacy of whistleblower testimony.
It’s unclear whether committee rules require that testimony be made available to Democrats when federal whistleblower laws allow for some degree of anonymity.
The bigger question: what is the motive for obtaining this information. Based on the pushback from Plaskett, it was clearly not to gain a better understanding of the issues at hand and find solutions that protect the American people. Democrats are determined to continue these clandestine operations against the American people and to support the agencies conducting them. We know that Barack Obama and his team set these operations in motion and solidified the processes on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017 in a meeting attended by Joe Biden, John Brennan, Susan Rice, and others.
A shift in the way we should consider disinformation and misinformation
We need a shift in the debate about these pressing issues. The First Amendment clearly protects speech that could be called “misinformation” and “disinformation.” The clear language of the amendment omits any requirement that speech be accurate or clear or even fair or without malice.
In fact, every two years we conduct the greatest effort in our country’s public discourse to disseminate mis- and disinformation. It’s called “elections.” Ethical and moral considerations would clearly regard such speech as unnecessary and even harmful in some instances. But this sacred right doesn’t distinguish between good and bad speech. It protects speech: period!
In Federalist 51, James Madison famously argued that the risk of government is that it is administered by flawed, sinful people (the reference to “angels” there clearly implies immoral behavior). And the downside to that problem is that external controls upon government may not be sufficient to restrain its bad behavior. The Founders never considered the same flaws in the common discourse of the people as anything like the risk of government conducted by the same defective people. The judgments of the behaviors of citizens are adjudicated in courts of law with a jury of their peers and also between them and the Almighty. Tp the authors of the Constitution, government itself was the sole risk to a free people.
We need a new understanding of the problem in our public discourse. Restraints for the use of mis- and disinformation should never be imposed upon the people by government. To the contrary, we must build restraints upon government officials who propagate mis- and disinformation. Civil and Criminal penalties should be established upon them when they commit such falsehoods in the course of their public duties.
Such penalties may not be imposed upon the public discourse.
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