The Pentagon is allegedly planning to launch a program via a private firm named Babel Street that would monitor the social media of military personnel and search for “extremist material” in order to avoid First Amendment protections.
The Intercept claims to have reviewed internal Defense Department documents that show Bishop Garrison, who is a senior advisor to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and who is tasked with handling “extremism” in the armed forces, is designing a social media screening program that will “continuously” monitor platforms for “concerning behaviors.” It is said to be part of the Biden administration’s plan to combat domestic extremism.
“There’s no pilot program being run by Mr. Garrison or the extremist working group to examine social media,” the Pentagon’s top spokesman John Kirby commented, accusing The Intercept of “misreporting.”
However, President Biden’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has previously said: “The job of the Defense Department is to keep America safe from our enemies. But we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.” Fox News host Laura Ingraham flatly stated: “The left is also using Jan. 6 as a pretext, of course, to completely remake our military and target conservatives in the ranks.”
(Video Credit: Fox News)
A House Armed Services Committee spokesperson thought the social media screening would be used in addition to background checks, and not as a form of ongoing surveillance, according to the Daily Mail,
Austin has allegedly said that former President Donald Trump and his supporters are racist and he is a purported advocate for Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project.
Under previous presidencies, the Pentagon has avoided surveilling members due to First Amendment and privacy concerns. That all appears to be changing under the Biden administration.
The Intercept cited an anonymous senior Pentagon official in its report as the source for the intel. They stated that the program “will use keywords to identify potential extremists.” Those keywords have not been identified.
Extremism has been a focal point for Biden’s cabinet which has repeatedly demanded that it be addressed after the Capitol riot.
In February, Austin ordered a 60-day “stand-down” of the entire military so commanders could address what was termed as a threat from within.
At the time, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby compared the pause to a stand-down utilized to address safety concerns. The order was issued following a meeting that discussed the Capitol riot and the presence of veterans and active-duty service members who were at the protest.
Then in April, Austin sent out a memo calling for a number of immediate actions to be taken to combat “extremism” following the stand-down. He ordered the formation of the Countering Extremism Working Group, which Garrison was placed in charge of. Of note, he was also a former foreign policy adviser on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign
Austin ordered an update concerning the DOD’s definition of prohibited extremist activities among military personnel. That included a study on extremism within the ranks, an update to the service member transition checklist, and a review and standardization of questionnaires for recruits.
Recently relieved Space Force commander Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier is claiming that the Pentagon sent out a video to military personnel accusing the United States and white people of being “evil.”
Lohmeier stated during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity that the videos “were sent out to every base [and] service member,” and, “We were asked to watch [them] in preparation for our extremism down days and discussions on race.”
He claimed the videos “taught that the country was evil, that it was founded in 1619 and not 1776, and that whites are inherently evil.”
(Video Credit: Fox News)
Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted concerning the alleged plan: “We should not be removing military members for lack of wokeness. Will the next step be pledging loyalty to the Democrat Party to fight for our country?”
We should not be removing military members for lack of wokeness.
Will the next step be pledging loyalty to the Democrat Party to fight for our country?
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) May 17, 2021
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