State Department Supports “Disinformation” Grant That Financed Blacklists of Online Outlets

The State Department recently defended its funding of the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), an organization that supplies blacklists of certain outlets with the aim of demonetizing them.

Back in March, California Congressman Darrell Issa criticized the State Department for financing the GDI, and pushed for a probe into the $100,000 grant the department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) granted the GDI in 2021. In a response that it recently sent, the department said it did not regret financing the GDI.

The letter it sent to Issa, which was authored by the assistant secretary of the bureau of legislative affairs Naz Durakoglu, declared that reports that the “State Department funding may have been used to fund GDI’s work in the United States” are not accurate.

The letter continued by highlighting that Issa’s letter “raises several important points concerning free speech and the principles of democracy, both of which are fundamental to the Department’s representation of U.S. foreign policy and promotion of American ideals abroad,” per a Washington Examiner report.

Durakoglu argued that the grant “focused on countering foreign disinformation overseas and, consistent with the GEC’s mission, no domestic-focused activities were included in the scope of work.”

“Funding under the award could not be used for any other purpose,” the letter added.

“America’s foreign adversaries and competitors have wielded information manipulation as a tool of statecraft for decades,” Durakoglu wrote. “The comparatively recent proliferation of global information and communications technology accentuates a contemporary national security risk. The Department stands by the work of the GEC and the crucial role it plays in helping to ensure that foreign disinformation operations do not undermine the policies, security, or stability of the United States, its allies, and partners.”

Speaking to the Washington Examiner, Rep. Issa said: “It is disappointing but not surprising that the Biden State Department hasn’t come close to offering a suitable explanation or corrective action for its role in the censorship of individual Americans and established conservative media. Make no mistake: Congress isn’t done holding State accountable.”

The GEC did not meet a deadline to hand over documents connected to the GDI and other groups to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

On top of that, Congress is entertaining the idea whether or not to reauthorize the GEC in 2024. In September 2022, the State Department’s inspector general stated that the GEC had failed to prevent foreign threats and failed to figure out how foreign entities spent money doled out by the US government.

The State Department has always been politicized, but now it has been taken to intolerable levels. Such an institution already works against American interests by promoting geopolitical instability abroad. Now, it’s destabilizing the US at the domestic level. 

For those reasons, the State Department must be defunded and ultimately be abolished.  

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