Last month, the Biden administration announced the creation of the “Disinformation Governance Board” that would be under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas first mentioned the creation of the Board in April during his testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.
U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville), Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) joined more than 170 Republicans in a letter sent to Mayorkas demanding answers on the scope and authority of the new board.
“We believe that the Disinformation Governance Board could be utilized as a political tool under the guise of security,” says the letter. “This has the potential to severely undermine the American people’s confidence in the Department, especially as we enter the 2022 election season.”
The members of Congress also expressed concerns about such a mission existing under the Department of Homeland Security.
“As a domestically focused Department,” the letter continues, “we are concerned that DHS is overstepping its authority with the creation of this Board. DHS has developed a stalwart reputation as a defender of the homeland primarily because it has focused on these mission sets and has remained non-partisan in achieving them. Implementing something as vague as a “Disinformation Governance Board” will distract from these mission sets and potentially tarnish the non-partisan reputation the Department has developed since its founding.”
The GOP lawmakers warned that the board could get in the way of DHS handling other issues like border security.
“Additionally, during your testimony last week,” the letter explains, “you claimed the Biden administration has ‘effectively managed’ the border crisis. Meanwhile, the policies of the current administration have resulted in over 1.5 million border encounters in the last six months, which is the largest in our nation’s history. We are concerned that the Disinformation Governance Board will distract from this crisis.”
The members of Congress also expressed concern over who Mayorkas picked to lead the Board.
“Third, we are concerned with the appointment of Nina Jankowicz as the head of this Board,” the letter says. “Ms. Jankowicz has, on several occasions, displayed questionable judgment on matters of disinformation and freedom of speech. For example, she has expressed support for Christopher Steele, author of the Steele Dossier.”
They are demanding answers on the following questions within 30 days of receiving the letter:
- Under what legal authority is DHS creating this Disinformation Governance Board?
- What is the Board’s specific directive and mission? What authorities will it have under
- How does this Board help DHS protect the homeland from threats?
- Why is DHS putting valuable resources toward a mission that it appears to have no equity in when there is an ongoing crisis at our southern border?
- Why was Ms. Jankowicz chosen to head this Board?
- Who were the other candidates considered for this position?
- What qualifications and vetting procedures did the Department utilize when determining who would head up the Disinformation Governance Board?
Brooks also added a statement on Twitter, saying, “Biden’s so called ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ opens the door for attacks on free speech and would politically weaponize DHS.”
Biden’s so called “Disinformation Governance Board” opens the door for attacks on free speech and would politically weaponize DHS. I joined over 170 of my Republican colleagues in a letter to Secretary Mayorkas expressing these concerns and demanding answers. pic.twitter.com/bUNIZxSXOB
— Mo Brooks (@RepMoBrooks) May 10, 2022
UPDATE May 12 3:45:
U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) also announced he signed the letter.
He described the board as “an absolute overreach.”
The Biden administration’s attempt to create a “Disinformation Governance Board” through @DHSgov is an absolute overreach that threatens free speech.
I joined more than 170 of my colleagues on a letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas demanding answers. pic.twitter.com/Q5FksdFLwd
— Rep. Jerry Carl (@RepJerryCarl) May 11, 2022