Senate Republicans demanded answers in a letter to Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI) over Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s “misleading testimony” relating to the disinformation governance board.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a member of the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), a member of the Judiciary Committee, obtained whistleblower documents that exposed controversial new information relating to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) planned Disinformation Governance Board.
The documents revealed:
- The disinformation board was conceived to monitor public speech surrounding “conspiracy theories about the validity of elections” and “disinformation related to the origins of effects of COVID-19 vaccines or the efficacy of masks”
- DHS planned to partner with Twitter to suppress disfavored speech and planned a meeting with Twitter executives to explore the concept
- The Disinformation board charter was drafted in January 2022 and signed by Mayorkas in February 2022.
- Although Mayorkas asserted that the board had not begun its official work, a planned meeting with social media executives was staffed by Nina Jankowicz, the chair of the disinformation board
- DHS officials appeared to have drafted a “Rumor Control Program of the Department of Homeland Security to Counter Misinformation, Disinformation, and Misinformation,” which included a public website titled “Rumor Control”
Mayorkas testified under oath on May 4 that the Disinformation Governance Board had not yet “begun its work.” Mayorkas also told the media that the board would focus on foreign state adversaries and cartels and would not monitor American citizens. Then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed that the board would be focused on “human traffickers and other transnational criminal organizations.”
Senate Homeland Security Republicans, which includes ranking member Rob Portman (R-OH), Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rand Paul (R-KY), James Lankford (R-OK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Hawley, demanded to have Mayorkas testify about the apparent contradictions between the DHS secretary’s testimony and public statements and the whistleblower documents. The senators wrote:
We are deeply concerned that documents recently obtained by Senators Josh Hawley and Chuck Grassley contradict the Secretary’s testimony and public statements about the Board. The American public deserves transparency and honest answers to important questions about the true nature and purpose of the Disinformation Governance Board and it is clear that Secretary Mayorkas has not provided them—to the public or this Committee.
We are also troubled that Secretary Mayorkas failed to provide these documents to the Committee. But for the actions of a whistleblower, it is unlikely any of this information would have come to light. The Secretary failed to provide the Committee these key documents despite a request from Senator Hawley to Secretary Mayorkas at the May 4 hearing that the Secretary provide the Committee with “documents pertaining to the board” and the Secretary’s assurances that “we owe you documents with respect to the work of this board that are already in existence” and that “we will produce the documents that you have requested unless there is a legal prohibition from us doing so.
The senators concluded in their letter to Peters, “Therefore, we request you hold a hearing with Secretary Mayorkas and join us in insisting that all records related to the Board be provided to the Committee prior to the hearing.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.