House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan issued a subpoena on Friday targeting Elvis Chan, the FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Office.
Chan is implicated in the Big Tech censorship campaign over the 2020 election.
This subpoena came in response to the Department of Justice blocking Chan from participating in a voluntary interview.
“The Committee on the Judiciary is conducting oversight of how and to what extent the Executive Branch has coerced and colluded with companies and other intermediaries to censor speech,” Jordan wrote. “As the primary liaison between the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) and social media companies, you are uniquely positioned to aid the Committee’s oversight.”
The focal point of concern revolves around collaborative efforts between the federal government and prominent social media entities to suppress unpopular political perspectives amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Jordan asserted that both legal proceedings and publicly available information have “exposed how the federal government has pressured and colluded with Big Tech and other intermediaries to censor certain viewpoints on social and other media in ways that undermine First Amendment principles.”
“It is necessary for Congress to gauge the extent to which FBI agents coerced, pressured, worked with, or relied upon social media and other tech companies to censor speech. The scope of the Committee’s investigation includes understanding the extent and nature of the FBI’s involvement in this censorship,” Jordan argued.
Chan was scheduled to participate in a recorded interview on Friday. However, a disagreement between the FBI and the Committee regarding procedural matters resulted in the interview’s cancellation. Consequently, the committee issued a subpoena.
Jordan’s subpoena is in the context of the ongoing legal case Missouri v. Biden, in which states led by Republicans have contested the administration’s dealings with major social media corporations.
FBI agent Elvis Chan was depositioned in November for the case.
As revealed in Elvis Chan’s deposition, the FBI played a major role in working with Big Tech companies to censor speech.
Actions ranged from weekly meetings with social media companies to demanding takedowns of specific accounts and facilitating suppression of certain stories. Chan related how the platforms became far more aggressive in removing alleged misinformation during the 2020 election cycle than in previous election cycles.
Just last week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Terry Doughty’s ruling, which found that the Biden administration’s actions infringed on Americans’ free speech rights under the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court is expected to make a final decision on this issue.