DHS Freezes Disinformation Governance Council for Full Review; Leader Nina Jankowicz resigns

United States Department of Homeland Security halted the progress of its new investigative committee tasked with researching and identifying the circulation of false claims and misleading messages.

Initiated at the end of April by the Secretary of Homeland Security Alexander MayorkasA previous Wash100 Price recipient, the Disinformation Governance Council has drawn criticism from lawmakers due to its alleged potential for censorship and limiting free speech.

DHS officials strongly refute objections to the council’s mission or capabilities, saying it “was designed to ensure that we fulfill our mission to protect the homeland, while protecting fundamental constitutional rights,” according to a DHS. speaking employee in Axios.

While temporarily inactive, the board is subject to review by the Homeland Security Advisory Council, an aspect of DHS. The board should consider ways in which the board can be more transparent about its processes and confirm that it will protect First Amendment rights rather than inhibit them. It will be led by former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and former US Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and is expected to last 75 days.

Following the temporary closure of the board and what she determined was an impending disbandment, Nina Jankowicz resigned as leader of the Disinformation Governance Council.

Jankowicz, who has worked a lot analyzing misinformation in various think tanks, reportedly received an online rejection after being asked by President Biden to take the job. Those skeptical of the board have raised concerns about Jankowicz’s lack of legal experience and his media presence with the public.

DHS leaders say the advice is primarily intended to investigate and highlight misinformation promoted by bad actors in Russia, who have been accused of disseminating false information to US citizens, particularly regarding the election.

The Homeland Security Advisory Council will take the next two months to decide the council’s future. In the meantime, a potential lawsuit could be filed against DHS by a coalition of 20 Republican attorneys general who have called for the board to be terminated immediately.

Helen D. Jessen