Two weeks ago, it was widely reported that numerous classified military documents were leaked in a group chat called “Thug Shaker Central” on the chat platform Discord.
With these recent extremely sensitive leaks, the Biden administration has been pivoting the PR disaster into an excuse to further monitor U.S. citizens. To the average citizen, this would probably seem like a power grab, but the mainstream media hasn’t been reporting it, and Republicans in Congress have been (knowingly or unknowingly) abetting it.
While American Pigeon has been unable to obtain more than a few maps from the leaked files, the majority of outlets—CNN, The New York Times, and BBC among others—which gained access to the documents have agreed on the following:
- The documents proved the U.S. has been eavesdropping on its allies.
- The documents showed U.S. assets participating in the Russian government and military organizations.
- The documents proved that U.S. defense has been monitoring the Ukraine-Russia conflict in extreme detail, including an analysis of endurance.
- The documents revealed recent NATO actions in the Ukraine region previously unknown to the public.
It’s no secret that a leak of this scale is an unprecedented embarrassment to the Biden administration, not to mention the fact that it happened in such a ridiculous way as via a chat room dedicated to video games and memes.
Most of the mainstream media has reported on how American allies (and enemies) might take advantage of this new information, but it’s also important to look at what is happening domestically.
One piece of news that has flown under the radar were statements from government admin and congressional officials revealing that the White House is exploring “expanding how it monitors social media sites and chat rooms,” according to NBC.
It’s an odd coincidence that the infamous RESTRICT Act is sitting in Congress at this moment. What some online have labeled the “PATRIOT Act 2.0,” the RESTRICT Act would give the federal government the power to ban any internet content that is unsafe or poses a risk to American interests.
(READ MORE: White House-Backed Bill to Ban TikTok ‘Will Not Ban TikTok’)
The bipartisan bill has been masqueraded as an attempt to ban TikTok, effectively getting Republicans on board. It would also give the government implied power to monitor internet connections in order to search for unauthorized connections to banned content, among other powers.
Unlike previous legislation, like the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act or the Trump-era Executive Order that had the specific goal of banning TikTok, the Biden White House has given vocal approval to the RESTRICT Act. This is a highly rare piece of praise, especially for legislation supported by both political parties.
While this lack of pushback should give Republicans pause, no major Congressional movement has been made by the party to withdraw support from the bill. In fact, 13 Republican senators still cosponsor the bill with Senator Mark Warner and 11 other Democrats.
Interestingly, the Libertarian Party—infamous for its indecisiveness on topics related to culture—condemned the bill. The largest caucus of the party released a statement in a Twitter thread, saying “…they take what they want with no regard for it. It’s time the people recognize the same and refuse to recognize these infringements of their natural rights.”
Conservative media personality Tucker Carlson dedicated a monologue on his Fox News show to the act in late March, where he said the bill “would give the government terrifying power.”
If the Republicans don’t want a repeat of their support for the PATRIOT Act, it would be wise for them to apply their roots of preventing federal intervention in American lives. The intentions of the party seem to be pure, but the execution is faulty (as is scarily common).
Don’t get it twisted, it should be a goal of Republicans to stop communist China from influencing Americans and collecting our data. Fundamentalist Republicans and Libertarians often argue that a ban on the app itself is a violation of our First Amendment, but that simply isn’t true. The First Amendment only applies to American citizens, which is a class I don’t believe a Chinese corporate conglomerate hell-bent on serving the CCP belongs to.
As common wisdom suggests, the most direct and simple solution to a problem is often the correct one. I can’t think of a better solution than a bill that simply creates provisions preventing Chinese companies from collecting and/or processing U.S. data. It wouldn’t even be required to ban China from trying to influence Americans because once the business aspect is gone, the only thing left is pure propaganda which can be countered.
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