During a hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on April 18, Sen. Scott asked DHS Secretary Mayorkas if he believes it’s right for the federal government to review private messages on Twitter. Elon Musk recently revealed that DHS had access to all DMs or Direct Messages on the platform.
Mayorkas said it is a tool used by law enforcement agencies in criminal investigations. Scott asked for clarification that DHS staff would only review private messages on Twitter if there is a criminal investigation. Mayorkas said to his knowledge, that is the case. “We assess the threat landscape that this country confronts so that we can secure the homeland and protect the American people.”
Scott asked if he would fire anyone at homeland security who reviewed private messages on Twitter outside of criminal investigations. Mayorkas responded, “I don’t know the specific contours of the law in this discreet area. I assure you we comply with the law.” Scott asked if it’s right for the government to review the private messages outside of criminal investigations. Mayorkas admitted that he would be concerned if that happened. Scott agreed with Mayorkas that the agency does a lot of great things and holds criminals accountable, but he questioned whether the agency ever holds those within the organization accountable. “They do indeed,” said Mayorkas. He said that those agents do not represent the vast majority of DHS staff members.