“Disinformation” deemed a “national security risk” include speech about election integrity, the COVID vaccines, and the masks, according to internal DHS memo. “This Administration wanted you to be monitored. This ‘Disinformation Board’ was set up to go after you,” Sen. Josh Hawley says.
Posted BY: Jamie White
Department of Homeland Security documents provided by a whistleblower to Congressional lawmakers reveal the department’s now-defunct Disinformation Governance Board was formed to monitor American free speech and censor “conspiracy theories.”
In an open letter addressed to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Josh Hawley (R-Ark.) demanded the department “provide additional clarity regarding its policies and procedures for identifying (mis-, dis- or mal-information), as well as its efforts to ‘operationalize’ public-private partnerships and the steps it is taking to ensure it does not infringe on the constitutional rights of American citizens.”
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The senators went on to claim the whistleblower documents show the board was not intended as a “working group” to “develop guidelines, standards, [and] guardrails” against disinformation.
“In fact, DHS documents show the DGB was designed to be the Department’s central hub, clearinghouse and gatekeeper for Administration policy and response to whatever it happened to decide was ‘disinformation,’” the letter stated.
Free speech the DHS claimed were “serious homeland security risks” pertained to “conspiracy theories” about election security, the COVID vaccines, and “the efficacy of masks,” according to the documents.
- Conspiracy theories about the validity and security of elections may undermine trust in core democratic institutions, amplify threats against election personnel, and jeopardize the voting rights of vulnerable communities.
- Disinformation related to the origins and effects of COVID-19 vaccines or the efficacy of masks undercuts public health efforts to combat the pandemic.
The internal DHS memo also alleges the DGB intended to coordinate with Big Tech to enforce censorship and counter-narratives.
“Collectively, whistleblower allegations and the documents we’ve reviewed raise concerns that DHS could be seeking an active role in coordinating the censorship of viewpoints that it determines, according to an unknown standard, to be ‘MDM’ by enlisting the help of social media companies and big tech.”
Specifically, the documents “suggest the Department has been working on plans to ‘operationalize’ its relationships with private social media companies to implement its public policy goals. For example, we obtained draft briefing notes prepared for a scheduled April 28, 2022, meeting between Robert Silvers and Twitter executives Nick Pickles, Head of Policy, and Yoel Roth, Head of Site Integrity.”
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The Republican senators pointed out that the DGB had no way of preventing ideological influence in the board’s decision-making when it comes to determination what qualifies as disinformation.
“The memo states that DHS’s ‘role in responding to disinformation should be limited to areas where there are clear, objective facts.’ It is unclear how DHS defines ‘clear, objective facts,’ and it is unclear what safeguards, if any, DHS has put in place to ensure that individuals charged with determining which issue areas have ‘clear’ and ‘objective facts’ are not influenced by their own ideological and political beliefs,” the letter says.
“The First Amendment of the Constitution was designed precisely so that the government could not censor opposing viewpoints – even if those viewpoints were false,” the senators added.
Nina Jankowicz, the board’s disgraced former chair, had a history of peddling fake news like the Russia collusion hoax, and advancing falsehoods like claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop story was “Russian disinformation.”
Notably, the memo indicates “Jankowicz may have been hired because of her relationship with executives at Twitter” rather than her expertise on countering disinformation, the senators claim.
In conclusion, the senators requested “all written and electronic communications, memoranda, and organizational documents, related to the DGB from the point that DHS first considered establishing a DGB until the present”, as well as all documents and communications related to the selection of Jankowicz as board chair.
Hawley joined “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday to break down the memo and what it means for the American people.
“This Administration wanted you to be monitored. This ‘Disinformation Board’ was set up to go after you,” Hawley said.
“As it turns out, the people that the Biden administration thinks are a threat to the American people, it’s not the drug cartels, it’s not foreign threats, it’s you. It’s the American people.”
These revelations contradict Mayorkas’ Congressional testimony last month stating the Disinformation Governance Board was “not the truth police” in that its overall mission was to fight disinformation from “Russia, China, Iran, and the cartels” which could pose a “national security threat.”
Furthermore, Mayorkas asserted on CNN that the board would not monitor the free speech of Americans:
CNN’s Dana Bash: “Will American citizens be monitored?”
Bash: “Guarantee that?”
Mayorkas: “So what we do, we in the Department of Homeland Security don’t monitor American citizens.”
The DHS shuttered its modern-day Ministry of Truth last month after fierce public backlash, vowing to bring it back after a 75-day review to improve its perception to the American people.
Jankowicz ironically claimed the DGB was shut down because of “disinformation” itself, which she insisted “endangers our national security.”