NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security should be shut down after reporting shined light on the agency\u0026#039;s sweeping campaign to police what it deems disinformation online, an effort that raised alarm among civil liberties groups.\r\n\r\n\u0022It\u0026#039;s time to talk about shutting down the Department of Homeland Security,\u0022 Snowden, a former NSA contractor who exposed the agency\u0026#039;s illegal mass spying program in 2013, wrote on Twitter.\r\n\r\n\u0022The First Amendment bars the government from deciding for us what is true or false, online or anywhere.\u0022\r\n\r\nDHS, formed in 2002 in the wake of the September 11 attacks, \u0022was always a mistake, a costly artifact of the hysteric post-9/11 authoritarianism that left us no more safe, but much less free,\u0022 Snowden continued. \u0022Its plan to become the Speech Police is the final straw.\u0022\r\n\r\nSnowden was responding to an in-depth story by The Intercept on Monday detailing secretive DHS attempts to \u0022curb speech it considers dangerous\u0022 by trying to pressure and \u0022influence tech platforms\u0022 such as Twitter and Facebook. The department\u0026#039;s \u0022stepped up counter-disinformation effort\u0022 began under former President Donald Trump and has continued under President Joe Biden, the outlet noted.\r\n\r\n\u0022According to a draft copy of DHS\u0026#039; Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, DHS\u0026#039; capstone report outlining the department\u0026#039;s strategy and priorities in the coming years, the department plans to target \u0026#039;inaccurate information\u0026#039; on a wide range of topics, including \u0026#039;the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine,\u0022 The Intercept\u0026#039;s Ken Klippenstein and Lee Fang reported.\r\n\r\n\u0022How disinformation is defined by the government has not been clearly articulated, and the inherently subjective nature of what constitutes disinformation provides a broad opening for DHS officials to make politically motivated determinations about what constitutes dangerous speech,\u0022 Klippenstein and Fang stressed.\r\n\r\n\u0022DHS justifies these goals—which have expanded far beyond its original purview on foreign threats to encompass disinformation originating domestically—by claiming that terrorist threats can be \u0026#039;exacerbated by misinformation and disinformation spread online,\u0022 they added. \u0022But the laudable goal of protecting Americans from danger has often been used to conceal political maneuvering.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFacebook and Twitter created special portals for the government to rapidly request takedowns of content. The portals, along with NGO partners used to censor a wide range of content, including obvious parody accounts and content disagreeing w gov pandemic policy. pic.twitter.com/Jth0WUfXAI\r\n— Lee Fang (@lhfang) October 31, 2022\r\n\r\n\r\nThe ACLU, which has previously called for the dismantling of DHS over its myriad abuses, expressed concerns in response to the The Intercept\u0026#039;s story, which noted that the agency\u0026#039;s efforts to police disinformation online have only expanded in the wake of the agency\u0026#039;s decision to scrap its widely derided\u0026nbsp;Disinformation Governance Board earlier this year.\r\n\r\n\u0022The First Amendment bars the government from deciding for us what is true or false, online or anywhere,\u0022 the ACLU tweeted earlier this week. \u0022Our government can\u0026#039;t use private pressure to get around our constitutional rights.\u0022\r\n\r\nAdam Goldstein, the vice president of research at FIRE—a free speech organization that is fighting right-wing censorship campaigns across the U.S.—told The Intercept that \u0022no matter your political allegiances, all of us have good reason to be concerned about government efforts to pressure private social media platforms into reaching the government\u0026#039;s preferred decisions about what content we can see online.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Any governmental requests to social media platforms to review or remove certain content should be made with extreme transparency,\u0022 Goldstein added.