Mayorkas Says Disinformation Board Will Not ‘Infringe On Free Speech’

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on “Fox News Sunday” that the agency’s new disinformation board will not infringe on U.S. citizens’ free speech rights.

The department announced the creation of the Disinformation Governance Board to counter misinformation and disinformation, particularly focusing on disinformation coming from Russia and misleading rhetoric about the U.S.-Mexico border. The secretary said the board is in place to address misinformation that threatens national security.

“We address disinformation that presents a security threat to the homeland,” he said. “Disinformation from Russia, from China, from Iran, from the cartels. The cartels spread misinformation that Title 42 does not apply to the Haitians, and that prompts, potentially, Haitians to try to come to the United States, and what do we do?”

“This is a working group that takes best practices to make sure that in addressing disinformation that presents a threat to the homeland, our work does not infringe on free speech, does not infringe on civil rights, civil liberties. It’s not about speech, it’s about the connectivity to violence.”

He said an individual has the First Amendment right to make an anti-semitic remark but is not permitted to hold hostages in a synagogue, referencing an incident in January where a man held four hostages inside a Dallas, Texas synagogue.

“Fox News Sunday” host Bret Baier then asked Mayorkas about the concerns surrounding President Joe Biden’s appointee to lead the board, Nina Jankowicz, who previously attempted to discredit Hunter Biden’s laptop story and claimed the Steele dossier was funded by Republicans in a 2017 tweet. (RELATED: ‘Discomforting’: Elon Musk Reacts To The DHS’ New Disinformation Governance Board) 

“Do you really think Jancowicz is anywhere near objective enough for this particular job?” Baier asked.

“Yes, I do and by the way, highly regarded as a subject matter expert, and I don’t question her objectivity,” Mayorkas replied. “There are people in the department who have a diverse range of views, and they’re incredibly dedicated to mission. We’re not the opinion police. She has testified before Congress a number of times. She’s recognized as a tremendous authority, and we’re very fortunate to have her.”

Jankowicz also raised concern about Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, saying, “I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities all around the world.”