DHS Scraps Disinformation Board

The department suffered massive public pushback.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Department of Homeland Security has stopped all efforts supporting its disinformation governance board.
  • DHS’s Advisory Council voted unanimously that the disinformation governance board was not necessary.
  • The agency saw a massive negative response from the American people after the agency project was announced in April.
  • DHS’s Disinformation board had a stated mission to “coordinate countering misinformation related to homeland security, focused specifically on irregular migration and Russia.”
  • However, no sooner was the project announced that an outcry about freedom of speech overwhelmed any positive message DHS planned to spread about the board.
DHS ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT SCRAPPING THE PROJECT:
  • DHS announced Monday that the board would be shut down, saying they were planning to address plans to combat disinformation at a later date: “We have now had briefings on the relevant disinformation-related activities of the Department,” a statement from DHS said.
  • “We are not ready, as of yet, to provide recommendations on the Department’s most effective approach to disinformation threats, including commitments to increase transparency and protect civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy. However, at this point, we have concluded that there is no need for a Disinformation Governance Board.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Criticism for the board focused on the proposed director, Nina Jankowicz, who was herself caught spreading false information about the Christopher Steele dossier and Hunter Biden’s laptop, calling it Russian misinformation.
  • Jankowicz resigned from the board, and the DHS in May, saying that she believed the board was being “mischaracterized” and that the mission of the board was still necessary: “I maintain my commitment to building awareness of disinformation’s threats and trust the Department will do the same,” she added at the time.