The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concluded Monday that there is “no need” for a Disinformation Governance Board, after months of scrutiny from Republicans about its appointed leader and what the board would monitor.
In May, roughly three weeks after the rollout of the board was announced, it was paused. The board’s leader, Nina Jankowicz, resigned, citing harassment. The DHS announced that the board would be reviewed by an advisory council, which would make recommendations about its future.
The Disinformation Best Practices and Safeguard Committee, which provided preliminary findings to the advisory council, said on Monday that the DHS would be doing away with the Disinformation Governance Board altogether.
“We are not ready, as of yet, to provide recommendations on the Department’s most effective approach to disinformation threats, including commitments to increase transparency and protect civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy,” the subcommittee said in its report.
“However, at this point, we have concluded that there is no need for a Disinformation Governance Board,” the statement continued. The final report will be issued in early August.
DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the board on April 27, saying its purpose was to “develop guidelines, standards, guardrails to ensure that the work that has been ongoing for nearly 10 years does not infringe on people’s free speech rights, rights of privacy, civil rights and civil liberties.” Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the board by repeatedly claiming its work was a “continuation” of battling disinformation done by previous administrations.
Mayorkas also claimed the board would not monitor domestic disinformation and would focus on foreign threats.
Numerous Republican lawmakers, including members of the DHS under former president Donald Trump, sounded the alarm over the establishment of the board, facetiously dubbed the “ministry of truth.”
House Republicans introduced legislation to defund the board, and Chad Wolf, former acting secretary of the DHS under Trump, claimed that it reflected “politicization of the Department.”
Jankowicz was also scrutinized for previously having herself supported disinformation about Hunter Biden’s laptop and the Steele dossier, as well as for her TikTok videos, where she deemed herself the “Mary Poppins of disinformation.”
— Nina Jankowicz 🇺🇦🇺🇸 (@wiczipedia) February 17, 2021
Mayorkas told Senate Republicans during hearings that he knew nothing about her claims concerning Hunter Biden’s laptop, nor about her TikTok videos, when she was appointed to lead the board.
Jankowicz said Monday she continues to be harassed online despite having resigned two months ago, and called on Republican senators Josh Hawley and Chuck Grassley, who criticized her ability to lead the board objectively, to stop “attacking” her.
“I resigned my position at DHS 2 months ago today. Despite that, I continue to be defamed & threatened based on lies about the work I was hired to do,” she said, adding that the work she was set to do was much more “nuanced” than was presented.