- - Friday, March 3, 2023

Americans don’t trust Big Tech, and for good reason.

Data breaches, tracking, monitoring, duping users into providing personal data and then selling it to third parties, and of course, blatant efforts to manipulate information to drive an agenda. Now the same people who have thrown gasoline on the left’s cancel-culture bonfire may now end up in government agencies that have an enormous ability to affect our civil liberties.

The National Security Agency is recruiting from Big Tech, which is shedding thousands of workers amid inflation and the slowing economy. Other agencies are likely following suit. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is laying off 11,000 people. Amazon said in January that it would eliminate more than 18,000 jobs, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was projecting to cut some 12,000 positions. Elon Musk is cleaning house at Twitter.

It could be viewed as a shrewd move by the NSA and likely other federal agencies to tap talent from Big Tech. There is no doubt that the warfare of the 21st century is waged with keyboards, perhaps even more than bombs and missiles. Both China and Russia have expanded their digital espionage and hacking programs. America needs to counter that threat.

But in a hyper-politicized environment with an ascendant radical left, it’s worth asking whom the government will be recruiting. For all the talk about diversity and equity on the left, this talent pool doesn’t look like much of America in terms of core beliefs. 

At a precarious time for American freedom, pulling from Big Tech should be treated with a healthy degree of skepticism from conservatives and pro-freedom Americans.

There is a Big Tech philosophy that is evident in the way those companies treat constitutional freedoms, traditional values and legitimate public discourse. The Twitter Files demonstrated that a dangerous symbiotic relationship has existed between far-left government officials and tech companies that have fueled divisiveness and a culture of fear and retribution.

A Stanford study after 2016 showed that of 600 tech leaders and founders, only 14% were Republicans. The armies of techies they hired were even more partisan.

Google employees gave 94% of their political donations to Democrats in 2021. Twitter bested that number with 99%. In 2022, political giving by employees of Google, Apple, Amazon and Meta combined went only 15% to Republicans.

A deeper analysis of political giving shows that a large percentage of Big Tech givers support more liberal candidates out of step with the majority of Americans on a range of issues. That means they support likely support massive government expansion, radical social policies, suppression of religious freedom, and an erosion of personal and financial privacy.

The driving force behind cancel culture, wokeism, and the lies and cover-ups surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic may become part of an already compromised, untouchable, unaccountable deep state. If you thought the FBI going after parents, anti-abortion groups and Catholics was appalling, one can easily imagine it getting worse if Big Tech radicals can squirrel away in the federal government.

Since the pandemic, the power of Big Tech has only grown. Just think about how many careers and reputations were destroyed by their censors for countering the government’s narrative about COVID-19. Think about the influence these companies had on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The crisis of self-censorship they have helped create in what was supposed to be the digital town square has amounted to an unprecedented suppression of free speech.

The federal workforce is already dominated by liberal Democrats, as are the media and academia. If our federal intelligence agencies and law enforcement recruit their next generation from the censors and content manipulators of Big Tech, further erosion of privacy and basic constitutional freedoms is all but inevitable.

How do we ensure that the intelligence community recruits workers that are truly committed to the American proposition of freedom? How do we know that leftists from Silicon Valley will truly work to protect this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic, without interpreting that to mean conservatives? How do you ensure that someone from the bowels of Meta who may be Marxist isn’t given essentially a lifetime appointment to the federal government and access to our most classified information?

There are no easy answers. Members of Congress and all Americans should demand greater scrutiny of how we intend to keep our intelligence community and federal law enforcement focused on finding the bad guys and not declaring war on the Constitution.

• Tom Basile is the host of “America Right Now” on Newsmax TV, an author and a former George W. Bush administration official.

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