Republicans demand FBI, DHS update Congress on ongoing TikTok investigation

 A pair of top House Republicans are calling on the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to brief Congress on the ongoing federal investigation into the popular Chinese social media platform TikTok.

Republican lawmakers — House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., and Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, who chairs the panel's Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement and Intelligence subcommittee — sent a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray and DHS. wrote. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday demanded information about their roles in the federal government's national security review of TikTok.

“The FBI and other U.S. national security agencies have raised concerns about the possibility that the People's Republic of China (PRC) could use TikTok for nefarious purposes,” they wrote to Wray and Mayorkas. "The concerns surrounding the spread of TikTok are real and growing. DHS, the Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. Department of Defense have banned the use of TikTok on official mobile devices due to security concerns."

“We are concerned about TikTok's alignment with the interests of the PRC, as it broadcasts anti-American propaganda, suppresses critics of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who raise concerns about human rights abuses, and obviously Allows the glorification of foreign terrorists." " Green and Pfluger continued.

Both GOP leaders said it was important for the FBI and DHS to provide a briefing given the lack of details about the agencies' role in the current investigation and to address China's "espionage activities against the United States within the homeland." The aim was to better understand their overall efforts. ,

TikTok, owned by Beijing, China-based firm ByteDance, has been the subject of debate in recent years over its potential national security risks. The video-sharing platform, which has more than 150 million US users, has significant ties to the Chinese Communist Party, and experts have warned that it could collect and store sensitive data about users.

Wray acknowledged in late 2022 that the FBI itself had concerns about the widespread use of TikTok in the US.

“We have national security concerns, at least from the FBI, regarding TikTok,” Wray said during a Homeland Security Committee hearing at the time.

"They also include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control the data collection of millions of users," he said. "Or control recommendation algorithms, which can be used to influence operations if they wish. Or to control software on millions of devices, which potentially gives the opportunity to technically compromise individual devices "

Green and Pfluger said in their letter that they are aware that the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) is reviewing TikTok. CFIUS is a 1970s interagency taskforce overseen by the Treasury Department, includes both DHS and the FBI, and is tasked with reviewing certain foreign investments that pose a threat to national security. Can.

And Republicans cited examples of how TikTok can suppress content critical of the Chinese Communist Party but allow content praising terrorism. For example, the app censors content about China's genocide of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic groups, but for a few days last year it allowed anti-American content praising and sympathizing with Osama bin Laden.

"TikTok is a national and personal data security threat that glorifies terrorists and supports an anti-American agenda," Fluger said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “The responsibility to address the Chinese Communist Party's espionage activities against the United States falls to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and I am proud to lead this effort with Chairman Greene.”

The FBI declined to comment and DHS said it would respond to the letter through official channels.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.