In a recent interview, Glenn Greenwald criticized FBI Director Christopher Wray for his failure to define “disinformation.” Greenwald, a longtime critic of government surveillance, argued that Wray’s refusal to define the term is a sign that the FBI is using it to suppress legitimate dissent.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) posed the question during a hearing in which Wray testified before the House Judiciary Committee, asking for a firm definition — and Wray appeared stymied by the question.
“The evidence shows that you, your agency, the people that directly report to you, suppressed conservative-leaning free speech about topics like the laptop, the lab-leak theory of COVID-19’s origin, the effectiveness of masks and COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccines, speech about election integrity in the 2020 presidential election, security of voting by mail, even parody about the president himself, negative posts about the economy,” Johnson said.
“The FBI made the social media platforms pull that information off the internet if it came from conservative sources,” he continued. “They did this under the guise that it was ‘disinformation.’ Can you define what disinformation is?”
Wray evaded the question, saying, “What I can tell you is that our focus is not on disinformation, broadly speaking …”
“The reason FBI Director Chris Wray can’t define ‘disinformation’ — even though that’s the basis for the FBI’s pressure campaign on Big Tech to censor Americans — is it’s a bulls***, concocted term with no fixed meaning. That’s what gives it its power (like ‘terrorism’),” Greenwald tweeted in response.
Greenwald also criticized Wray for his comments about the spread of misinformation on social media. Wray has said that social media companies are “the new battlefield” in the fight against disinformation. Greenwald argued that Wray is exaggerating the threat of misinformation and that the FBI is using it as an excuse to increase its surveillance powers.
“The FBI is using the spread of misinformation as an excuse to expand its surveillance powers,” Greenwald said. “This is a dangerous trend, and it’s one that we need to be very wary of.”
Greenwald’s criticism of Wray is echoed by many conservatives who are concerned about the government’s increasing power to suppress dissent. They argue that the FBI’s definition of “disinformation” is too broad and that it could be used to target anyone who disagrees with the government.
“They did this under the guise that it was disinformation. Can you define what disinformation is?”
“What I can tell you is that our focus is not on disinformation, broadly speaking…”
Director Wray’s FBI is responsible for repeated 1A violations and he can’t answer for it. pic.twitter.com/3jChwqt3Rc
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) July 12, 2023
The reason FBI Director Chris Wray can't define "disinformation" — even though that's the basis for the FBI's pressure campaign on Big Tech to censor Americans — is it's a bullshit, concocted term with no fixed meaning.
That's what gives it its power (like "terrorism"): https://t.co/Qhq6CNd2Qr
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 12, 2023