The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the head of the Department of Homeland Security’s short-lived Disinformation Governance Board Monday.
Nina Jankowicz, who chaired the board from its April 2022 inception to its May 2022 dissolution, promoted a variety of false claims popular among Democrats. She blamed DHS’s decision to shut down the board on right-wing disinformation, asserting that it was part of a broader campaign. The committee’s subpoena requests general information about the board’s formation and goals.
“We have repeatedly sought information from you concerning your official actions and duties as a DHS employee and former Executive Director of the Board, including how the Board intended to define disinformation, how it planned to collect information and from what sources, how it anticipated countering disinformation, and how it proposed to protect First Amendment rights,” committee chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio wrote in a letter to Jankowicz. “To date, however, you have declined to comply voluntarily with our request for a transcribed interview.”
Compels her to appear for a deposition relating to Joe Biden’s failed “Disinformation Governance Board.” pic.twitter.com/MzClswwHhV
— Weaponization Committee (@Weaponization) March 6, 2023
Although DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed that the board would “not infringe on free speech… civil rights [or] civil liberties” because it would have an international focus, documents released by Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Charles Grassley of Iowa showed that the board would focus on issues by topic, not by national origin. (RELATED: DHS Says There’s ‘No Need’ For Disinformation Board)
Biden administration officials expressed particular concern about “conspiracy theories about the validity and security of elections,” “disinformation related to the origins and effects of COVID-19 vaccines or the efficacy of masks,” and “falsehoods surrounding U.S. government immigration policy,” in one document released by the senators.
Republican elected officials also expressed concern with DHS’s decision to tap Jankowicz to lead the board. A former fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Jankowicz repeatedly accused GOP officials and activists of spreading disinformation. She claimed that opponents of Critical Race Theory are engaging in “disinformation for profit,” and that Hunter Biden’s laptop was a Republican “campaign product.”
“There’s never been any indication that Hunter Biden was involved in anything untoward,” she said of Hunter Biden’s Burisma Energy board position. “It certainly has nothing to do with Joe Biden’s policies toward Ukraine.”
Jankowicz registered in November 2022 as a foreign agent lobbying for a British firm. The Centre for Information Resilience describes itself as a “non-profit social enterprise dedicated to countering disinformation, exposing human rights abuses, and combating online behaviour harmful to women and minorities.”