MADISON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) and his fellow Republicans on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are looking for answers on the Biden administration’s Orwellian board, particularly after some apparent disinformation from a top government official.
The senators are requesting a hearing with Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, regarding his misleading testimony of the agency’s Disinformation Governance Board.
Recent documents obtained by Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) appear to contradict the Secretary’s sworn testimony before the committee on the nature and scope of the Disinformation Governance Board.
“The American public deserves transparency and honest answers to important questions about the true nature and purpose of the Disinformation Governance Board and it is clear that Secretary Mayorkas has not provided them—to the public or this Committee,” the senators wrote in a letter to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D- Mich.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee. “Therefore, we request you hold a hearing with Secretary Mayorkas and join us in insisting that all records related to the Board be provided to the Committee prior to the hearing,”
DHS put the brakes on the board after public outcry over the Big Brother shadow it cast. The board’s first executive director, the left-leaning Nina Jankowicz, resigned.
In late April, Mayorkas informed the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security that a Disinformation Governance Board had recently been created to combat falsehoods and distortions on the internet. Jen Psaki, Biden’s former spin doctor of disinformation, confirmed the president supported it.
At a May 4 Homeland Security committee hearing, Mayorkas testified that the board “has not yet begun its work.” The documents suggest otherwise. Board members were required to meet “regularly” and “no less than once per quarter,” according to the Disinformation Governance Board charter signed by the secretary
“Another document dated only six days before Secretary Mayorkas appeared before the Committee provides preparatory materials for a meeting between Under Secretary for Policy Robert Silvers and Twitter,” Johnson and his fellow Republicans note in the letter. “The document was prepared by Ms. Nina Jankowicz in her capacity as Executive Director DHS Disinformation Governance Board,” clearly evidencing that the Board had already begun its work.”
Johnson, former chairman and current member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, blasted the Biden administration’s version of Politifact and its leader. The senator noted that Jankowicz has been a font of misinformation online.
She has repeatedly falsely tweeted that the Hunter Biden laptop story wan’t legitimate, although the new “disinformation czar” joined a lot of bad and lazy journalists on that front.
In another tweet she wrote, “IC has a high degree of confidence that the Kremlin used proxies to push influence narratives, including misleading or unsubstantiated claims about President Biden, to US media, officials, and influencers, some close to President Trump. A clear nod to the alleged Hunter laptop.” And she referred to the origins of how the media came into possession of the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop as a “fairy tale about a laptop repair shop.”
According to the senators, documents show Mayorkas also misrepresented the board’s functions in his public statements. Asked by a reporter whether the Disinformation Governance Board would monitor American citizens, the secretary unequivocally said, “No.” He added, “We at the Department of Homeland Security don’t monitor American citizens.” The board instead would focus on foreign threats, he said. .
But Jankowicz’s prepared talking points “appear to show that the board’s work is concentrated on domestic threats,” the senators wrote. Jankowicz notes say the board’s initial work plan includes working with “industry on countering MDM [mis-, dis-, or mal-information] related to domestic violent extremism,” according to the letter. She further noted that the Department of Homeland Security recently established a “domestic terrorism branch” within the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis—responsible for collecting and analyzing intelligence.
The documents include a Sept. 13, 2021, memorandum from Under Secretary Silvers recommending the establishment of the disinformation board also lists several other categories of domestic homeland security disinformation that the board could address including “conspiracy theories about the validity and security of elections,” and domestic violent extremism.”
“We are also troubled that Secretary Mayorkas failed to provide these documents to the Committee. But for the actions of a whistleblower, it is unlikely any of this information would have come to light,” the senators’ letter states.