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Tipsheet

DHS Announces Update About Disinformation Governance Board

Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP

After intense backlash, the Department of Homeland Security officially ended plans for a Disinformation Governance Board on Wednesday.

“The Department welcomes the recommendations of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, which has concluded that countering disinformation that threatens the homeland, and providing the public with accurate information in response, is critical to fulfilling the Department’s missions. We thank the Subcommittee for its work, which required extensive fact gathering and analysis over a short period of time,” the department said in a statement.
 
“In accordance with the HSAC’s prior recommendation, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has terminated the Disinformation Governance Board and rescinded its charter effective today, August 24, 2022,” the statement continued. “With the HSAC recommendations as a guide, the Department will continue to address threat streams that undermine the security of our country consistent with the law, while upholding the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of the American people and promoting transparency in our work.”

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Mayorkas announced plans for the Disinformation Governance Board in April, claiming its goal was "to bring the resources of (DHS) together to address this threat [of disinformation]." After three weeks of fierce public criticism, with many likening the board to a "ministry of truth," the department announced it would pause the board's work. Its head, Nina Jankowicz, also resigned. 

Critics welcomed the news but warned about future attempts to carry out a similar effort. 

"They only shut it down because they got caught," Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) said on Twitter. "Sooner or later, Dems will try to bring back this Orwellian effort under a different name. We need to be ready to stop them."

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), meanwhile, said important questions about the board still need to be answered.

"The American public still deserves transparency and honest answers to important questions about the true nature and purpose of the Disinformation Governance Board & assurances that @DHSgov will not infringe on the rights of hard-working Americans," he said. "I will press Secretary Mayorkas for answers at the annual threats hearing this fall and insist that all records related to the Board be provided to the Committee prior to the hearing."

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