Newly released documents appear to contradict testimony by Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in May that the Biden administration’s Disinformation Governance Board had not yet met.
Mayorkas, appearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee to discuss the fiscal 2023 budget for the department, testified on the creation of the board.
“The goal is to bring the resources of (DHS) together to address this threat (of misinformation),” Mayorkas said.
Under questioning by Senator Josh Hawley on May 4th, the Secretary testified that “the board has not yet met.”
An exasperated Hawley (R-MO) asked, “Wait a minute, there are no minutes of meetings about this board?”
“It has not yet begun it’s work,” Mayorkas replied.
Not so, according to documents discovered by Hawley.
Hawley published documents countering Mayorkas’ testimony on the now-defunct Disinformation Governance Board.
Despite the Secretary’s comments, Hawley contends that the board’s Steering Group “had begun meeting on a weekly basis as early as February 2022 and already had operational authorities.”
Additionally, heavily redacted emails indicate Nina Jankowicz, who was controversially named Executive Director of the Board before resigning following scrutiny that she’d engaged in spreading her own disinformation, agreed to the role in January.
The Political Insider reported that Jankowicz, who spread disinformation about Hunter Biden’s laptop being “a Trump campaign product,” recently registered as a foreign agent.
Hawley also maintains that the documents obtained from a whistleblower earlier this year show a new depth of coordination with Big Tech companies to monitor and suppress the speech of American citizens.
The Missouri lawmaker states that the Disinformation Governance Board had pursued “a potential partnership with Twitter” as well as a public-facing “Rumor Control Program.”
“Jankowicz,” Hawley wrote in a letter to Mayorkas, “repeatedly pushed for DHS to establish an ‘analytic exchange’ with industry partners.'”
The Senator states this might have been “a portal for Big Tech companies to coordinate speech suppression with the government.”
Emails also reveal that the Disinformation Board planned to meet with Nathaniel Gleicher of Facebook.
Gleicher spearheaded the company’s security policy while they actively suppressed the reach of The New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story.
The Department of Homeland Security ultimately put the disinformation board on pause after Jankowicz resigned.
Hawley is requesting that unredacted copies of the documents be turned over to Congress, along with any records responsive to his six previous oversight requests.
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