Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said “there’s no question” he could have more effectively communicated the purpose of his newly-created “disinformation” board after critics framed it as a crackdown on free speech.
Mayorkas said on “Fox News Sunday” that the Biden administration “could have done a better job in communicating what it does.”
FREE SPEECH CONCERNS MOUNT OVER DHS ‘DISINFORMATION’ BOARD AS LAWMAKERS, CRITICS WEIGH IN
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during an April 2022 House hearing.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Mayorkas announced that DHS created a Disinformation Governance Board to combat online disinformation during his testimony Wednesday before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.
“The goal is to bring the resources of [DHS] together to address this threat,” he said during the hearing, adding that the department is focused on the spread of disinformation in minority communities ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Mayorkas explained Sunday that the board specifically addresses “disinformation that presents a security threat to the homeland.”
“Disinformation from Russia, from China, from Iran, from the cartels,” he said.
“This is a working group that takes best practices to make sure that, in addressing disinformation that presents a threat to the homeland, our work does not infringe on free speech, does not infringe on civil rights, civil liberties,” he continued. “It’s not about speech, it’s about the connectivity to violence. That is what we need to address. You know, an individual has the free speech right to spew anti-Semitic rhetoric. What they don’t have the right to do is take hostages in a synagogue, and that’s where we get involved.”
Nina Jankowicz will be the executive director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board.
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Mayorkas said he had full faith in the objectivity of Nina Jankowicz, the board’s executive director, who faced backlash this week for past tweets about the Hunter Biden laptop story and Christopher Steele’s debunked dossier.
“I don’t question her objectivity,” Mayorkas said Sunday. “There are people in the department who have a diverse range of views, and they’re incredibly dedicated to the mission. We’re not the opinion police. She has testified before Congress a number of times, she’s recognized as a tremendous authority, and we’re very fortunate to have her.”
Jessica Chasmar is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to Jessica.Chasmar@fox.com and on Twitter: @JessicaChasmar.