CNN’s Dana Bash grilled Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the Biden administration’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ which many are calling the “Ministry of Truth.”
Bash said: “Republicans are calling it ‘Orwellian’ and comparing it to the Ministry of Truth in the novel 1984. Can you clarify what exactly is this? What exactly will this Disinformation Governance Board do? Will it monitor American citizens?”
Mayorkas said: “Dana, I’m very pleased to do so. It’s clear, those criticisms are precisely the opposite of what this small working group within the Department of Homeland Security will do. And I think we 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. Throughout the years of the prior administration, on an ongoing basis, disinformation from Russia, China—”
“Right. We know the problems, but it’s not still clear to me how this governance board will act,” Bash fired back. “What will it do?”
“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. And 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.
Bash demanded Mayorkas ‘Guarantee’ that American citizens will not be monitored.
“So what we do,” Mayorkas said, “We in the Department of Homeland Security don’t monitor American citizens.”
“You don’t,” Bash said, “but will this Board change that?”
“No, no, no” Mayorkas said.
“The Board does not have any operational capability. 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.”
“Imminently qualified, a renowned expert in the field of disinformation,” Mayorkas said of Nina Jankowicz, the person tapped to head this board and who has is a partisan political operator.
Will she be “neutral?” asked Bash.
“Absolutely so,” Mayorkas said with a straight face but no one believed him.
Bash then said: “Would you be okay if Donald Trump were president, if he created this disinformation governance board or if it is in place in 2024, that he’s in charge of such a thing?”
Mayorkas said weakly:
“I believe that this working group that gathers together best practices makes sure that our work is coordinated, consistent with those best practices, that we’re safeguarding the right of free speech, that we’re safeguarding civil liberties.
“I think it’s an extraordinarily important endeavor.”
DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas defends choice of "renowned expert" Nina Jankowicz to lead Disinformation Governance Board, calls her "eminently qualified."— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) May 1, 2022
CNN's Dana Bash: "And neutral?"
Mayorkas: "Absolutely so." pic.twitter.com/wVQ2kc1H50