Dem Rep Calls for Screening Service Members’ Social Media for Ties to White Supremacy, Far-Right Groups

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Rep. Jackie Speier ( D., Calif.) leads HR3 chant during President Trump’s State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., February 4, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Representative Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) is calling on the federal government and Department of Defense to screen the social media accounts of U.S. service members and other “individuals with sensitive roles” for connections to white supremacist and far-right groups.

Speier, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote a letter to President Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and DNI Avril Haines urging the federal government to do more to keep far-right views and white supremacist sympathizers from serving in the armed forces and other areas of governments, according to Politico.

“Perhaps most importantly, DoD and the U.S. Government at large are not effectively screening servicemembers and other individuals with sensitive roles for white-supremacist and violent-extremist ties,” she wrote.

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“This gap is inexcusable,” she continued. “Social media is not viewed during the military’s accessions process or even as part of the background investigations process for security clearances.”

She urged Biden to issue an executive order “identifying white supremacy and violent extremism as a critical threat” and directing agencies to screen applicants for those beliefs before hiring them.

Speier’s call to action comes one week after a CNN analysis found a “disproportionate” number of active duty or retired members of the armed forces participated in rioting at the U.S. Capitol last month, accounting for 14 percent of the dozens of people who have been charged thus far.

“While I believe strongly that the actions recommended in this letter have been justified for quite some time, the appalling events at the Capitol this month — and the central role of social media in their planning and organization — offer a new sense of urgency,” Speier wrote.

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