The rollout of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new Disinformation Governance Board has, at the very least, been a PR debacle, and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ effort to assuage concerns of the American citizenry in claiming it’s leader is “neutral” likely fell upon deaf ears as he faces ever-growing calls for impeachment.
Mayorkas attempt at damage control was facilitated by CNN’s Dana Bash during Sunday’s “State of the Union. The host brought up the likeness of the new board to the Orwellian Ministry of Truth and asked the secretary to address concerns of an assault on the First Amendment.
“Those criticisms are precisely the opposite of what this small working group within the Department of Homeland Security will do,” Mayorkas claimed before going on to state, “I think we could have done a better job of communicating what it does and does not do. The fact is that disinformation that creates a threat to the security of the homeland is our responsibility to address, and this department has been addressing it for years, throughout the years of the prior administration and an ongoing basis.”
Of Nina Jankowicz appointment to head the board Mayorkas stated she is, “Eminently qualified. A renowned expert in the field of disinformation.” And when asked if she is neutral, he replied, “Absolutely so.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 29, 2022
One wonders if the board will be investigating the exchange between Bash and Mayorkas as an example of disinformation, as it is quite the stretch to defend the former Wilson Center fellow who promoted the Steele dossier and specifically called out the right as responsible for most disinformation as “neutral”, let alone “eminently qualified.”
While he went on to qualify examples of disinformation as stemming from “Russia, China” and “Iran” his words were likely little comfort to those impacted by or concerned with the relatively recent reports of the FBI surveilling parents attending their local school board meetings. At Bash’s insistence, Mayorkas went on to provide a vague explanation of what the board does.
“What it does is, it works to ensure that the way in which we address threats, the connectivity between threats and acts of violence, are addressed without infringing on free speech, protecting civil rights and civil liberties, the right of privacy and the board, this working group, internal working group, will draw from best practices and communicate those best practices to the operators because the board does not have operational authority,” he explained.
“We in the Department of Homeland Security don’t monitor American citizens. The board does not have any operational authority or capability,” he claimed. “What it will do is gather together best practices in addressing the threat of disinformation from foreign states adversaries, from the cartels, and disseminate those best practices to the operators that have been executing and addressing this threat for years.”
Bash also asked the secretary to address recent remarks made by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) during a visit to the southern border where he put Mayorkas on notice stating, “This is his moment in time to do his job. But at any time if someone is derelict in their job, there is always the option of impeaching somebody. But right now, he’s got 30 days. His first response to us should be, ‘We should not lift Title 42.’ They’re not prepared to protect, and we cannot sustain what will happen to this nation.”
As the nation braces for an estimated 18,000 border crossers per day should the emergency deportation measure be lifted, Mayorkas dismissed McCarthy’s statement outright.
“I am incredibly proud to work with 250,000 dedicated and talented personnel and I look forward to continuing to do so,” he stated. When asked if he has concerns, he responded, “I am not. I am focused on mission and supporting our incredible workforce.”
If there was any doubt as to the earnestness of the intent of the board and Mayorkas’ mission, that was thrown out the window when he dodged a question from Bash about if he would be ok with former President Donald Trump overseeing a similar organization. Instead of a direct answer, he reiterated his claim that they follow best practices.
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