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White House press secretary Jen Psaki branded the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ‘disinformation board’ as a tool to fight illegal immigration, noting that its first warnings were sent out under the Trump administration in 2020.
‘This is a continuation of work that was done under the [Trump] administration,’ Psaki assured reporters at her daily briefing on Monday.
She said the board’s work would be to ‘to address the use of disinformation in helping smugglers prompt the movement of more migrants to the border.’
‘For anyone out there who might be concerned about the increase of migrants to the border, this is the kind of apparatus that’s working to address disinformation. And again, it’s continuing the work of the Department of Homeland Security in 2020,’ Psaki said.
In March, there were 221,000 migrant encounters at the southern border, more than any month since the early 2000s.
Critics immediately fired off about the new plan for the dystopian-sounding board when it was announced last week, especially about Nina Jankowicz, who has been chosen to head the Disinformation Governance Board. Jankowicz has been critical of Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and stories about the Hunter Biden laptop.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday praised President Joe Biden’s new disinformation czar as ‘qualified and neutral’ despite a slew of Republicans criticizing her as partisan.
Asked about that criticism on CNN’s State of the Union, Mayorkas called Nina Jankowicz ’eminently qualified, a renowned expert in the field of disinformation.’
‘And neutral?’ host Dana Bash asked.
Mayorkas answered, ‘Absolutely so.’
Jankowics poses with her own book, How to Lose the Information War
He also pledged the White House’s new Disinformation Governance Board will not be used to monitor American citizens, despite mounting right-wing concerns that it will be a tool for censorship and surveillance.
Jankowicz has been appointed by the Biden administration to head the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board as executive director
Jankowicz’s appointment in particular has caught criticism from conservatives, after her previous dismissal of reporting by the New York Post and DailyMail.com on Hunter Biden’s laptop as a ‘Trump campaign product.’
The laptop’s contents, some of which are reportedly linked to a federal tax fraud investigation into the president’s son, had been dismissed in October 2020 by Democrats and mainstream media outlets as ‘Russian disinformation’ before being authenticated by the Washington Post earlier this year.
A Wilson Center fellow who once advised the Ukrainian government, Jankowicz has also come under scrutiny for praising former British spy Christopher Steele.
Steele is behind the notorious and now-debunked Russia dossier that purported Trump had strong ties with Moscow.
Jankowicz also caught heat for an old tweet criticizing advertisements promoting mask-wearing at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against public mask-wearing at the time.
Mayorkas said the board would not have ‘operational authority’ despite GOP claims it will be used to crack down on dissent
Prominent Republicans like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have compared the disinformation board to the ‘Ministry of Truth’ in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, claiming it’s being done to silence right-wing voices.
‘It’s clear I mean, those criticisms are precisely the opposite of what this small working group within the Department of Homeland Security will do,’ Mayorkas said on CNN‘s State of the Union.
However, he acknowledged that the Biden administration ‘probably could have done a better job of communicating what it does and does not do.’
‘The fact is that disinformation that creates a threat to the security of the homeland is our responsibility to address, and this department has been addressing it for years.’
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced last week that it was creating the board in a bid to crack down on disinformation coming from Russia as well as disinformation spread by human smugglers to encourage migrants to attempt to cross the southern border.
Biden’s Homeland Security chief was forced to defend the new disinformation board after a slew of Republican criticism
Mayorkas said Sunday that the board will not have ‘operational authority’ but was vague when asked about exactly what it will do.
‘We know the problems but it’s still not clear to me how this governance board will act,’ host Dana Bash pressed.
Mayorkas answered: ‘So what it does, is it works to ensure that the way in which we address threats, the connectivity between threats and acts of violence are addressed without infringing on free speech, protecting civil rights and civil liberties, the right of privacy.’
Many Republicans have compared it to the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984
‘The board — this working group, internal working group — will draw from best practices and communicate those best practices to the operators, because the board does not have operational authority.’
The Biden official gave a firm ‘no’ when asked whether Americans will be monitored.
‘What it will do is gather together best practices in addressing the threat of disinformation from foreign state adversaries, from the cartels, and disseminate those best practices to the operators that have been executing and addressing this threat for years,’ he said instead.
He drilled down the point during a separate interview on Fox News Sunday, claiming his department was not the ‘opinion police.’
‘There are people in the department who have a diverse range of views, and they’re incredibly dedicated to the mission,’ he said when pledging the board will not step on free speech.
It comes days after Florida’s GOP governor pledged his state would be ‘fighting back’ against the disinformation board and accused President Joe Biden of using it to attack his critics.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas pledged to introduce legislation to combat the board
‘You cannot have a Ministry of Truth in this country. We’re not going to let Biden get away with this one. So we will be fighting back,’ DeSantis said during a press conference.
‘When you’re not doing well, you have two options: You can try to do better. Or you can try to silence your critics. [Biden] is doing the latter.’
Meanwhile, Republican Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said he would introduce legislation to defund the board.
‘The Federal Government has no business creating a Ministry of Truth,’ Cotton wrote on Twitter Friday.
‘The Department of Homeland Security’s “Disinformation Board” is unconstitutional and unamerican, and I’ll be introducing a bill to defund it.’
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote on the platform: ‘The Biden administration’s proposed Ministry of Truth is completely un-American.’
‘Republicans have already introduced legislation to stop it, and we will force votes and a discharge petition to defund this Orwellian idea,’ he added.
Biden sets up ‘Disinformation Board’ headed by Russia expert who called Hunter’s laptop a ‘Trump campaign product’ and said she ‘shudders to think’ about Elon Musk taking over Twitter
Reporting by Katelyn Caralle
President Biden has set up a ‘disinformation’ board headed-up by a woke so-called expert who’s against free speech and tried to pour cold water on the Hunter laptop scandal.
Nina Jankowicz will head The Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board as executive director, Politico Playbook reported Wednesday morning.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas did not disclose any powers that would be granted to the dystopian-sounding board while addressing lawmakers on Wednesday.
He explained that the board would work to tackle disinformation ahead of the November midterms, particularly in Hispanic communities.
But Mayorkas did say that the new board would come under the Biden-era Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), meaning it would have no powers to crack down on disinformation and will instead try to combat it by throwing money at what it sees as problems.
The (CP3) program provides communities with resources and tools to help prevent individuals from radicalizing to violence. Last year, CP3 awarded about $20 million in grants through its Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program. It is unclear how much cash will be spent on the Disinformation Board.
Mayokras noted that the focus of the new board would be to stop the spread of misinformation in minority communities, including election misinformation ahead of the 2022 midterms.
He added that it would focus on the latest trend of misinformation allegedly targeting Spanish-speaking voters. No further details on the exact misinformation being deployed against these communities was shared.
Jankowicz, who revealed she was the head of the department following Mayorkas’ meeting with lawmakers, tweeted: ‘Cat’s out of the bag: here’s what I’ve been up to the past two months, and why I’ve been a bit quiet on here.
Senator Josh Hawley pointed out that Jankowicz told NPR last week that she ‘shudders to think about’ more free speech on social media platforms after Elon Musk made a bid for Twitter
Jankowicz is eight months pregnant with her first child, and is an extremely prolific tweeter
Woke Nina Jankowicz is now head of Biden’s dystopian ‘disinformation board’
Nina Jankowicz had already made a name for herself before being appointed head of Biden’s Russian disinformation unit.
Jankowicz, 33, is a successful author who is currently eight months pregnant with her first child. She grew up in New Jersey and is dating Michael Stein.
The couple are happily shacked up in a $1 million, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom property they own in Arlington, Virginia.
Jankowicz, attended Bryn Mawr College and Georgetown University, before embarking on a glittering career in foreign relations.
She managed programs to Russia and Belarus at the National Democratic Institute.
Jankowicz also advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on disinformation and strategic communications
She serves on the Board of Trustees for the Eurasia Foundation and is a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center
But the author is best known as a prominent woke voice online.
The Biden appointee’s latest book, How To Be A Woman Online has just been released, and deals with the topics of internet bullying and trolling.
She has complained about hordes of men tracking down her private Facebook and Instagram accounts after she appears on TV to try to follow her and find out more about her life.
Jankowicz says she prefers strangers to follow her Twitter account, and speculates that many of those who criticize her online are jealous of her ‘verified’ blue check mark and media career.
She has identified five different types of trolls who target her most, including ‘reply guy’ types who insist on trying to meddle in all aspects of her life, including in how brown she toasts her bread.
Despite claiming to be a free speech campaigner online, Jankowicz has spoken out against the First Amendment.
Aligning herself with many online progressives who’ve begun to call for an end to unqualified free speech, Jankowicz recently tweeted: ‘I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities…which are already shouldering…disproportionate amounts of this abuse.’
She also said the prospect of Elon Musk taking over Twitter made her ‘shudder.’
But Jankowicz – who has a pet dog and a cat – has not joined thousands of other liberals who’ve vowed to quit the platform as a result of Musk’s purchase.
‘Honored to be serving in the Biden Administration @DHSgov and helping shape our counter-disinformation efforts.’
She added that ‘a HUGE focus of our work, and indeed, one of the key reasons the Board was established, is to maintain the Dept’s committment (sic) to protecting free speech, privacy, civil rights, & civil liberties.’
The Russia disinformation expert previously called the laptop of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter a ‘Trump campaign product’.
This is causing questions over Jankowicz’s ability to accurately judge disinformation now that several sources have come out confirming the validity of Hunter’s laptop.
Jankowicz also suggested last week that she opposes the The First Amendment because she thinks it is bad for ‘marginalized communities’ and called Elon Musk a ‘free speech absolutist’ because he wants to make Twitter more open to all voices.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Jankowicz is a fellow at the Wilson Center where she studies the ‘intersection of democracy and technology in Central and Eastern Europe’. She is also the author of How To Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict.
When stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop started emerging, several outlets, social media sites and left-leaning disinformation experts claimed that it was just misinformation coming from Trump and others on the right.
In an October 2020 report, Jankowicz shared her skepticism of the contents of the laptop and the claims it belonged to Hunter.
‘We should view it as a Trump campaign product,’ she told the New York Daily News at the time.
Twitter repeatedly took down the Hunter Biden laptop story and prevented it from being spread on the platform.
Billionaire Elon Musk, who just purchased Twitter, said that his aim is to make the social media platform a more open ‘digital town square.’
‘Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,’ Musk wrote in a statement upon the purchase approval.
Jankowicz spoke with NPR last week and questioned Musk’s purchase of the platform and
‘I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities,’ she said.
She said these groups are ‘already shouldering…disproportionate amounts of this abuse’ and said free speech and lack of censoring on social media would make it worse.
Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley tweeted an image of her remarks to NPR with the caption: ‘The Biden Administration’s new anti-speech czar is apparently no fan of the @elonmusk Twitter acquisition.’
‘This is the person Joe Biden just put in charge of policing Americans’ speech. Using the power of the government.’
Jankowicz has advised the Ukrainian government on strategist communications – she also managed democracy assistance programs to Russia and Belarus.
She received her masters in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and her bachelors degree from Bryn Mawr College.