The top Republicans on the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees are demanding details behind the Department of Homeland Security’s newly announced “Disinformation Governance Board.”
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday, Reps. Michael Turner of Ohio and John Katko of New York said they intended to investigate the decision to create the “ill-defined governance board,” in preparation for funding decisions for the 2023 fiscal year.
“Given the complete lack of information about this new initiative and the potential serious consequences of a government entity identifying and responding to ‘disinformation,’ we have serious concerns about the activities of this new board, particularly under Ms. Jankowicz’s leadership,” the lawmakers wrote.
Mr. Mayorkas has named Nina Jankowicz as the board’s executive director. Ms. Jankowicz previously held the title of “disinformation fellow” at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank.
Mr. Mayorkas announced the recently formed disinformation panel earlier this week during his testimony before a House Appropriation subcommittee, in response to a question posed by Rep. Lauren Underwood, Illinois Democrat, about what the Department of Homeland Security would do to combat misinformation campaigns targeting minority communities.
He said the goal of the “Disinformation Governance Board” is to “bring the resources of [DHS] together to address” the threat of disinformation, with a focus on the spread of disinformation in minority communities.
The announcement added fuel to an already raging debate about online free speech, spurred by Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter.
In their letter to Mr. Mayorkas, the lawmakers said Ms. Jankowicz raises several concerns.
“Among other things, she stated publicly that Hunter Biden’s laptop should be ‘view[ed] as a Trump campaign product,’” they wrote.
They also raised concerns with a Twitter post by Ms. Jankowicz after Mr. Musk purchased Twitter in which she said: “I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms.”
The lawmakers are demanding Mr. Mayorkas hand over “all documents and communications” referring to the creation of the board and Ms. Jankowicz’s appointment.
They are also demanding that Mr. Mayorkas disclose whether any Intelligence Community resources were used to create the board or related to its mission.