FederalIssuesSecretary Mayorkas Cancels ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ After Critics Raise Free Speech Concerns

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security indicated that it would continue to pursue “countering disinformation that threatens the homeland.”
September 5, 2022
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After being reviled as detrimental to free speech, a panel in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) called the “Disinformation Governance Board” has been terminated.

Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s decision was announced in an August 24 statement indicating that he took the action upon the recommendation of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. The termination took effect the same day.

“The Department welcomes the recommendations of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, which has concluded that countering disinformation that threatens the homeland, and providing the public with accurate information in response, is critical to fulfilling the Department’s missions,” the statement reads.

The DHS went on to explain that it will “continue to address threat streams that undermine the security of our country consistent with the law, while upholding the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of the American people and promoting transparency in our work.”

When Mayorkas announced the panel earlier this year, it was widely condemned as “Orwellian” and characterized as a hazard to free speech. The secretary formed the board after Elon Musk offered to purchase Twitter.

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Mayorkas contended that the purpose of the panel was merely to combat disinformation spread by foreign governments and other bad actors such as criminal organizations. He pointed to examples such as the surge on Del Rio caused by confusion sewn by human traffickers over the U.S. policy toward Haitian illegal immigrants.

The board’s executive director, Nina Jankowicz, has made critical comments about former President Trump and was seen by opponents of the board as too politically charged to lead such an effort.

Attorneys general from numerous states, including Texas, sued the DHS in May in an effort to stymie the Disinformation Governance Board.

“I will not allow the Biden Administration to continue to erode our democracy by silencing millions of people in defiance of our Constitution and First Amendment freedoms, and deny every American the right to be heard,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said at the time.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."