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Ted Poe’s War on Twitter
Posted at 2:19 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2012
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, is looking for justice — and that’s just the way it is.
Earlier this week, the former judge took to the House floor for one of his famous one-minute speeches.
“Mr. Speaker, what do @HSMPress, @AlqassamBrigade and @almanarnews all have in common?” he asked. “Here’s a hint: Hashtag: Terrorists.”
Recently, an interest group and several members of Congress have begun putting pressure on the social media juggernaut to shut down the accounts of terrorist groups. A group called Christians United for Israel has begun a “No Twitter for Terrorists!” campaign replete with a “BanHamas” hashtag. The group claims that if Twitter does not shut down these accounts, it is offering “material support” to terrorist groups.
“Hamas has over 42,000 followers,” said Poe, who has just more than 6,500 followers. ”Their tweets have included everything from calls for jihad attacks to a ‘new Holocaust.’ Isn’t that lovely?
“Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that when there is a ‘broader strategy to promote terrorism,’ foreign terrorist organizations are not protected under free speech rights,” he continued.
“We should be doing everything we can to disarm our enemy, whether that means freezing their bank accounts or freezing their Twitter accounts. Allowing foreign terrorist organizations to freely operate on Twitter is enabling the enemy,” Poe said. “The FBI and Twitter must recognize sooner, rather than later, that social media is a tool for the outlaw terrorists, and it has to stop.”
This is not a new campaign for the congressman, said Poe spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes.
“Congressman Poe has been working on this issue since November 2011 (last year). He only recently became aware of the efforts of Christians United for Israel. A member of our staff spoke to the group for the first time this week,” Hynes said.
To wit, on Sept. 21, Poe and six House colleagues sent FBI Director Robert S. Mueller a letter outlining their concerns, quoting several tweets and asking that the FBI review its Twitter policy.
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