House Elected Officials Sneak in Censorship Provisions Into Massive Defense Bill

In the latest National Defense Authorization Act, lawmakers were able to sneak in censorship provisions underneath the noses of the American public according to a Substack report by journalist Lee Fang. 

Fang contended that these provisions “aim to silence military personnel and purge the internet of certain information.”

Ohio Congressman Mike Turner introduced a provision that bans the Department of Defense from being involved with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an organization that calls for the separation of church and state.

MRFF stands up for the interests of service members irrespective of their religions and denominations. It primarily helps them report cases of undue proselytizing and the presence of religious symbols in official military functions. 

“It is unprecedented in American history that Congress has ever tried to basically extinguish or assassinate a civil rights organization,” declared Mikey Weinstein, an attorney, and former Air Force officer who formed the organization back in 2005.

Under this provision, Defense Department staff is not only banned from getting in touch with MRFF or Weinstein, but the military is also prohibited from taking any action in response to “any claim, objection, or protest made by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation without the authority of the Secretary of Defense.”

This bill was passed in the House on July 14 and moved on to the Senate, where elected officials are also trying to tack on additional infringements on the right to free speech. 

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, had plans of introducing an amendment to the NDAA that would grant elected officials vast powers to censor  large array of information on the internet.

This amendment would grant elected officials, their families, certain at-risk members of congressional staff, and even individuals living with elected officials the power to demand the broad-based removal of specific “covered information.” The Klobuchar-Cruz amendment classifies “covered information” as personal data points such as home addresses, secondary residences, personal email accounts, and cell phone numbers, in addition to other personal information and sensitive travel data.

On top of that, the amendment grants the power to erase private information gathered by smartphones, applications, and other digital devices, alluding to concerns about the potential use of such information to target elected officials’ exact locations.

This amendment expands on a law passed in 2022 that grants substantial new powers to federal judges and their families to censor private information present on the Internet. Both the new judicial law and the Klobuchar-Cruz measure feature an exemption for journalistic behavior. However, as Fang noted, “the exemptions are ornamental.” He added, “the law would likely censor a broad range of information relevant to the media.” 

The passage of the NDAA represents everything that’s wrong with Congress. It’s not only a vehicle for wasteful spending, but also serves as a vehicle for devious politicians to add their insidious legislation to. Ultimately, there needs to be a new crop of leaders in order to prevent such wasteful spending and legislative graft. Quite frankly, the current ruling class is incapable of ushering in such kinds of changes.

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