The Department of Homeland Security is limited in terms of how it monitors civilians, but under the Biden Administration, it may recruit outside firms to do its bidding.
“The Biden administration is considering using outside firms to track extremist chatter by Americans online, an effort that would expand the government’s ability to gather intelligence but could draw criticism over surveillance of US citizens,” CNN explained May 3. “The Department of Homeland Security is limited in how it can monitor citizens online without justification.” But government officials are reportedly seeking a means of working around the rules. There is a proposed plan “according to multiple sources” that would, “in effect, allow the department to circumvent those limits” by “using outside entities,” CNN explained.
These “outside entities,” by contrast, would “access these private groups to gather large amounts of information that could help DHS identify key narratives as they emerge.”
Recruiting private firms to do work the DHS cannot do itself may be extremely effective. CNN explained how:
“By partnering with research firms who have more visibility in this space, the DHS could produce information that would likely be beneficial to both it and the FBI, which can’t monitor US citizens in this way without first getting a warrant or having the pretext of an ongoing investigation. The CIA and NSA are also limited on collecting intelligence domestically.”
The DHS is not the first major federal governmental institution under the Biden administration that has sparked concern among the American populace.
The United States Postal Service has been quietly monitoring social media posts, including posts about planned protests. At least some of that specifically targeted “right-leaning accounts,” Yahoo News reported.
The surveillance program, known as the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP), centers around hired analysts who review social media accounts for “inflammatory” posts to share across government agencies, Yahoo News explained further.
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