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Tipsheet

Kamala Harris' New Project Sounds Suspiciously Similar to Another Disinformation Board

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Last month, the "Disinformation Governance Board," a project of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fell apart and was put on pause after its executive director, Nina Jankowicz, resigned. Less than a month later, though, a similar project appears to be in the works, and this time it's being headed by Vice President Kamala Harris.

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The project, which is a task force to "Address Online Harassment and Abuse," was established on Thursday via a memorandum from President Joe Biden. The vice president also gave remarks that same day, and a readout mentioned that Attorney General Merrick Garland, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy also spoke and that "senior Administration officials heard from a panel of survivors and experts, who shared personal stories and recommendations on online harassment and abuse."

It's curious that the attorney general seems to be prioritizing such projects when Republicans in Congress are calling on him to better address violent extremism from radical pro-abortion groups, such as Jane's Revenge. On Friday morning, the FBI just finally revealed it was looking into such violence.

Other than an interesting use of priorities, there are also concerns in how this new task force may bear similarities to the disinformation board, including when it comes to language in the memo. For instance, "gendered disinformation," is included as one of the many examples of how "[o]nline harassment and abuse take many forms."

During Thursday's White House press briefing, a reporter asked for clarification and for White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre "to clear up the disinformation charges," but she was able to do no such thing. Instead, Jean-Pierre told the reporter she would have to talk to the vice president and encouraged him to contact the vice president's office's as well, as she was not part of a press call.

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Conservative media outlets and users on Twitter pointed out that the project sounds strikingly similar to the disinformation board that raised many red flags. Even DHS Secretary Mayorkas conceded the disinformation board could have been rolled out better, though he didn't exactly provide much more assurances from there, and he in fact appears to have been engaging in disinformation himself. 

Even with Jankowicz's resignation and the pause, concerns still abound with the disinformation board. As Spencer covered earlier this month, whistleblower documents obtained by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) contradict previous assurances made to Americans when it comes to the disinformation board's aims. Examples included looking into those who questioned the efficacy of masks and vaccines with regards to the Wuhan coronavirus or immigration policies. 

Fox News' Kelly Laco reported earlier this week that Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is asking Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), the chairman of that committee, to hold a hearing with Sec. Mayorkas on the "misleading testimony" he gave before the committee on May 4.

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When it comes to her involvement on yet another project, Harris has been saddled with many such tasks here and there, which she has struggled with throughout the Biden-Harris administration. 

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