White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday defended the Biden administration’s new disinformation czar — despite her history of spreading misinformation — insisting she has “extensive qualifications” but saying her hire was up to the Department of Homeland Security.
Nina Jankowicz, who will lead Homeland Security’s Big Brother-like Disinformation Governance Board, has been heavily skewered in recent days for repeatedly casting doubt on The Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop in the past.
Psaki, who a day earlier had told reporters she wasn’t familiar with Jankowicz, rattled off the disinformation expert’s resume during Friday’s press briefing after Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich questioned how she was given the role.
“How was [Jankowicz] hired if you and the White House are not familiar with her?” Heinrich asked. “What’s the process for putting her into a position like this?”
The reporter noted that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had earlier admitted he wasn’t familiar with Jankowicz’s prior statements regarding the notorious laptop, whose contents have recently been verified by both the New York Times and the Washington Post, some 18 months after The Post first revealed its contents.
“Any hiring decisions are up to the Department of Homeland Security, but this is a person with extensive qualifications,” Psaki said.
“Let me give you a sense of who she is,” Psaki added, before launching into Jankowicz’s resume.
“She’s an expert on online disinformation. She was formerly a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center. She’s testified before Congress, as well as the United Kingdom and European Parliament.
“[She’s] advised a Ukrainian foreign minister, particularly relevant in this moment, under the auspices of a Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship and overseeing Russia and Belarus programs at the National Democratic Institute.”
The press secretary dodged a follow-up question about one of Jankowicz’s resurfaced TikTok videos, which showed the new czar flippantly singing to the tune of Mary Poppins’ “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” as she suggested people shouldn’t vote for those who spread what she deems disinformation.
“When Rudy Giuliani shared bad intel from Ukraine. Or when TikTok influencers say COVID can’t cause pain. They’re laundering disinfo and we really should take note. And not support their lies with our wallet, voice or vote,” Jankowicz sang in the video.
“You’ve got someone from Homeland Security telling people how they should vote. How do you explain that to critics who say ‘that doesn’t sound right to me’,” Heinrich asked during the press briefing.
Psaki replied, “This is an individual who will oversee the work of that board. Personnel decisions are up to the Department of Homeland Security.”
She added that the creation of the disinformation board was a “continuation of work” that began under the Trump administration in 2020.
“For anyone who’s critical of it, I didn’t hear them being critical of the work under the former president, which is just interesting to note contextually,” Psaki said.
Earlier in the exchange, Psaki listed off a series of examples of the board’s focus — including cracking down on misinformation spread by human smugglers who target immigrants trying to come to the US.
“This is also work that is helping to address unauthorized terrorism, other threats and see how disinformation and misinformation is being pushed,” she said.