Jennie Taer on May 3, 2022
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told congressional staffers that the agency’s Disinformation Governance Board lacks a charter and has yet to hold its first meeting.
- The board has come under scrutiny, with members of Congress fearing that it could infringe on the rights of American citizens.
- Conservatives, including Republican lawmakers, are also concerned with DHS’ pick to lead the board, Nina Jankowicz, who has spread misinformation herself.
- One congressional staffer described the board as “half-baked,” adding that DHS seemed to have gotten “ahead of themselves when they mentioned this in the secretary’s testimony.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told congressional staffers Friday that its Disinformation Governance Board had yet to hold its first meeting, according to two congressional staffers familiar with the discussion, who spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
One congressional staffer told the DCNF that the board appeared “half-baked” and said DHS seemed to have gotten “ahead of themselves when they mentioned it in the secretary’s testimony.” DHS also admitted the board lacks a charter during Friday’s call, the two congressional staffers told the DCNF.
The congressional staffers elected to speak on background, with one telling us they don’t want to compromise their ability to work with DHS, and the other telling us their office only confirms details of this nature on background.
The board is new under the Biden administration, according to the aforementioned staffer who said DHS doesn’t “really have direction for this board.” The staffer also said Nina Jankowicz, the head of the board, kept referring to the board as “visionary,” adding that it appeared that there’s “no concrete structure to it yet.”
The staffer said they requested a copy of the charter and that DHS agreed to share it when it’s ready. The board is also looking to add two co-chairs to work under Jankowicz, according to the staffer.
The other staffer told the DCNF that they were told the board hasn’t met yet and hasn’t approved a charter.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told lawmakers on April 27 that the agency had formed the board to tackle misinformation and disinformation targeting minority communities.
Cat’s out of the bag: here’s what I’ve been up to the past two months, and why I’ve been a bit quiet on here.
— Nina Jankowicz 🇺🇦🇺🇸 (@wiczipedia) April 27, 2022
Mayorkas said Sunday that Jankowicz is “eminently qualified,” adding that the board will only monitor foreign misinformation and disinformation and not American citizens.
On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the board is “a continuation of work that began at the Department of Homeland Security in 2020, under former President Trump,” adding, “For anyone who’s critical of it, I didn’t hear them being critical of the work under the former president, which is interesting to note contextually.”
A DHS spokesperson didn’t address whether the board was newly formed or what was discussed on the call, telling the DCNF that DHS agencies have long worked to tackle “disinformation.”
DHS has been working for years to address disinformation, the spokesperson said, pledging DHS’ commitment to upholding “Americans’ freedom of speech, civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy.”
The board doesn’t have any operational authority or capability, the spokesperson added.
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