TikTok spying on Americans while trying to ‘buy Congress’ to prevent national ban, Hawley alleges

TikTok is little more than a “spy app” for the Chinese Communist Party and should be banned to protect Americans’ most intimate information, says Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.

Hawley has led the charge in the Senate to ban the video-sharing app nationwide for everyone – and did get it banned on federal devices. Meanwhile, the House has set a vote for Wednesday requiring Chinese owner ByteDance to sell TikTok or have it banned in the U.S.

In the midst of it all, Hawley alleges TikTok’s owner has set out to “buy Congress.”

“Well, look at the spending they’ve done on lobbying,” the senator said in an exclusive interview with The Heartlander Tuesday. “You can look at their lobbying disclosures. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying just in the last year since we passed my ban on TikTok for the federal government. 

“You know, right now you can’t have TikTok on any federal government computer or phone or tablet. No federal employee can have TikTok in any of those things. No federal contractor can have TikTok. That’s because we banned it federally. After that, TikTok decided, ‘Ah, we need to go out and purchase some influence.’ And boy, have they ever.”

What’s so scary about TikTok that it needs to be banned?

“Because it’s a spy app for the Chinese Communist Party,” Hawley argues. “It’s really that simple. It’s a back door for the Chinese government into every American’s personal life who has TikTok on their phone. 

“Here’s what I mean. It tracks your location. It tracks your emails. It tracks your keystrokes, which means it can read your text messages. It has access to your contact list. All of that information it gathers – and all of it is available in Beijing to the Chinese Communist Party. That’s the problem. That’s why it should be banned.”

Hawley’s assessment does not appear to be hyperbole.

“ByteDance, a Chinese company with an internal Chinese Communist Party committee, must comply with China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law requiring Chinese companies to ‘support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work,’” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise wrote in a press release Monday as the chamber took up its bill.

“This means they must provide any information requested to the Chinese government – including highly sensitive data collected on American users.”

But why should Americans care what the Chinese Communist Party knows about them – especially when the U.S. government and social media companies likely already have all that information anyway?

“Yeah, this is a good question,” Hawley says. “The reason is China, of course, wants to use our personal information against us for every possible purpose. Look at what it’s done, look at what the Chinese Government has done, in hacking into the financial services websites, into the credit scoring websites – I mean, all of the financial data, these big hacks of the last three last few years? Done by China.  

“Why? Because they want as much personal information about you as they can possibly get. They want to know your credit score. They want to know where you are. They want to know where your kids go to school. They want to know where your kids are. Why would we want to give our greatest enemy and opponent in the world that kind of information about ourselves? 

“I don’t want them having that about my kids. I don’t want them building dossiers on my kids. No parent should. And the problem right now is, no parent has control. If you’ve got TikTok on your phone, you can’t turn off the location data. You can’t turn off its spying. There’s no way to do it. You have zero control. This is about putting parents and regular Americans back in control of their lives.”

Oddly, even after signing Hawley’s ban on the use of TikTok on federal and federal contractor devices – and even after throwing his support behind congressional efforts to ban it for every other American – President Joe Biden has allowed his re-election campaign to use the app, even making a big splash about it at Super Bowl time.

How does that make sense, The Heartlander asked Hawley.

“Exactly. Here you’ve got Joe Biden out there, he signed a ban on federal employees. He’s a federal worker. And yet he is using it now. I hope he’s using it on his personal device, which is technically allowed. But what kind of a message does it send when the president of the United States is out there actively, avidly promoting TikTok, this Chinese spy app, and at the same time saying, ‘Oh, but we’ve got security concerns about it.’ It’s just outrageous.  

“But the reason is, he wants the votes. He thinks that he can reach young people through TikTok. He thinks it’s politically advantageous to him. And no doubt TikTok has given a lot of money to people around him.”

As for Biden, Special Counsel Robert Hur was testifying Tuesday to the House Judiciary Committee regarding his investigation into the president’s mishandling of classified documents. The Heartlander asked Hawley, a former attorney general famous for his prosecutorial questioning of witnesses appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, what he would ask Hur.

Hawley says he’d want Hur to discuss the striking “double standard” in which Biden isn’t charged for holding onto classified documents while former President Donald Trump is.

“They don’t have the evidence on [Trump] that they have on Biden. Nobody’s concluded that Trump willfully and knowingly withheld documents that he was not supposed to have. Trump had a right to have the documents. So why is it that Trump is getting prosecuted for nonexistent crimes – whereas Biden never had a right to these documents, willfully disclosed them, knew that he did it, but yet he’s off the hook? I just think the double standard is so glaring. 

“And the truth is that Democrats will make up every excuse in the world when it’s a Democrat who’s in the line of fire, and they will make up every excuse in the world to go after a Republican like Trump.”

Hur’s stated reason for not seeking Biden’s indictment – that he’d be hard to convict because a jury would see him as a “sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory” – makes Hawley wonder why the administration is allowing such a figure to remain president.

“Now think about this,” Hawley said. “This guy is the leader of the free world, the most powerful man on Earth. He wants to be president for four more years, but he doesn’t have the mental capacity to stand trial

“It can’t be both of those things. Those things both can’t be true. Which is why I say Merrick Garland, the attorney general, needs to either indict the president because he committed crimes, or he needs to go to the Cabinet and invoke the 25th amendment – say the guy doesn’t have the capacity to be president. It can’t be both. You can’t have it both ways.”


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