The Department of Homeland Security monitored “social media reactions” and “reflections” related to the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, according to a DHS bulletin obtained by Yahoo News. This alarmed current and former DHS officials and civil liberties advocates, who said the agency appears to have collected speech that is protected by the First Amendment.
The June 26, 2022, document circulated days after the Roe decision was produced by the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis and provides updates on what each part of the office is doing in the wake of the SCOTUS decision. “[The Office of Intelligence and Analysis] will continue to monitor this event for any additional information, social media reactions, reflections, and possible threats of violence in response to this event,” it states.
A DHS official said the agency is allowed to collect online posts that would normally be considered protected speech if it determines there is a larger potential national security threat.
This comes as the department is under intense scrutiny by Congress for its social media monitoring activities, including how it tracks and collects what it determines is misinformation or disinformation.
On Tuesday, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stressed in his testimony before Congress that the work being done by his department followed privacy guidelines and First Amendment protections.