Thursday, May 19, 2022 by Ramon Tomey
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) paused the work of and subsequently dissolved its Disinformation Governance Board (DGB). Nina Jankowicz, its executive director, stepped down in line with the move.
Multiple DHS employees first broke the news of the DGB’s pause three weeks after it was first announced. The department finally decided to shut down the board on May 16, as confirmed by people familiar with the situation. The DGB never formally met between the period when it was announced and its dissolution.
“Working groups within DHS focusing on mis-, dis- and mal-information have been suspended,” said a report about the May 16 decision.
Following the DGB’s dissolution, the DHS’ Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) will review its mission. The council is led by former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick. Chertoff led the department during the second Bush administration, while Gorelick served during the term of former President Bill Clinton.
Incumbent DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asked the HSAC on May 18 to conduct a broader review of the DGB within 75 days. The council has also been tasked to provide recommendations on how DHS can “garner public trust surrounding its disinformation efforts.” The next steps for the board will be determined after the 75-day review period.
Jankowicz handed in her resignation on May 17, a day after DHS decided to disband the DGB. Department officials called her on the evening of May 17, giving her the choice to stay on board – but she declined.
“With the [DGB’s] work paused and its future uncertain, I have decided to leave DHS to return to my work in the public sphere. I maintain my commitment to building awareness of disinformation’s threats and trust the [DHS] will do the same,” she said in a statement.
“It is deeply disappointing that mis-characterizations of the [DGB] became a distraction from the department’s vital work. Recent events globally and nationally embody why it is necessary.”
Some Republicans from both chambers of Congress rejoiced over the dissolution of the DGB, which they compared to the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s book “1984”. (Related: Senator demands Biden scrap creepy ‘disinformation’ unit; “dissolve this monstrosity immediately.”)
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) tweeted: “When we put pressure on the [Biden] administration, they fold like a house of cards. The so-called [DGB] is done. Hopefully [Jankowicz] figures out another way to get famous. Watch out for that!”
Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX) also shared his GOP colleague’s sentiment, tweeting: “Our [House] bill to defund the board, [alongside] rightful outrage from Republicans, has succeeded.”
Almost two weeks before the DGB’s pause and dissolution, GOP lawmakers grilled Mayorkas during a May 4 Senate hearing. They zeroed in on the DGB potentially becoming the arbiters of truth by flagging contrary opinions as “disinformation.”
“Here’s the problem: We can’t even agree [on] what disinformation is. How are we ever going to come to an agreement on what is disinformation so you can police it on social media? I think you’ve got no idea what disinformation is, and I don’t think the government [is] capable of [policing] it,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told the DHS secretary.
“You say your new [DGB] is going to help the public with disinformation. You think we can’t determine [if] speech by traffickers is disinformation? You think the American people are so stupid, they need you to tell them what the truth is?”
Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy also joined in the fray, questioning Mayorkas: “When [DHS] picked [Jankowicz], was [it] aware of her TikTok videos? They’re really quite precocious.” He alluded to a viral video of the DGB head singing about her role to the tune of a song from the 1964 Disney film “Mary Poppins.”
“I was not aware of that. We do not discuss the internal hiring process,” answered the secretary. “It is my understanding that Ms. Jankowicz is a subject matter expert in the field in which she will be working on behalf of the department.”
That doesn’t matter now as the proverbial fat lady already sang to mark the end of Jankowicz’s brief stay at DHS.
Disinfo.news has more stories about the DGB and its former director Nina Jankowicz.
Watch the viral footage of Nina Jankowicz singing about her short-lived role in the DGB below.
This video is from the SBN News Clips channel on Brighteon.com.
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