According to the Senator, there is no legal right for the US government to tell citizens what truth it is.
Rand Paul, a Kentucky senator, stated that the US government cannot tell Americans the truth due to the long history of misinformation.
During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Paul grilled Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over the ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ his agency is setting up to help social media platforms filter out ‘fake news.’
“Here’s the problem: we can’t even agree what disinformation is,”The Republican senator pointed this out. “You can’t even agree if it was disinformation that the Russians fed information to the Steele dossier.”
The controversial report, which was widely discredited and not well received by the media, that claimed collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign in Moscow and Moscow prior to the 2016 US Presidential Election was what he meant.
“If you can’t agree to that, how are we ever going to come to an agreement on what is disinformation, so that you can police it on social media?” Paul wondered.
“Do you know who the greatest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world is? The US government!”He was insistent.
To back up his claims, Senator cited several instances of incorrect information that Washington had deliberately propagated over the last decade to support his assertion.
One of these documents was the Pentagon Papers. It revealed that the US government had misinformed the public about its scale of military operations in Vietnam. Although the documents were declassified officially in 2011, media outlets had reported on them continuously since 1971.
Paul mentioned it also “George W. Bush and the weapons of mass destruction,” referring to American claims that Saddam Hussein’s regime had been in possession of WMD, claims that were used by the US to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but were never confirmed by findings on the grounds.
His other example was the Iran–Contra affair, which saw top US officials secretly organizing the sale of weapons to Iran in violation of an arms embargo between 1981 and 1986 in order to obtain money to fund the Contras insurgent group in Nicaragua.
“I mean, think over all the debates and disputes we’ve had over the last 50 years in our country. They are solved by having them debated. We don’t work them out by the government being the arbiter,”“The Senator spoke.
“I want you to have nothing to do with speech… You think the American people are so stupid they need you to tell them what the truth is?”Paul also added.
In late April, the Disinformation Governance Board’s creation was officially announced. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that the Disinformation Governance Board would be used to counter the spread of disinformation. “foreign states such as Russia, China and Iran,”Among others, human traffickers who operate at the US-Mexico border.
The DHS gave assurances that it won’t be targeting US citizens. But critics were quick to nickname the board ‘The Ministry of Truth,’ after a fictional organization from George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel ‘1984’.
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