'No need' for disinformation board at Homeland Security, panel finds

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

(WASHINGTON) — There is no need for a disinformation board at the Department of Homeland Security, a DHS panel has concluded in its interim report on examining the board.

“We have concluded that there is no need for a Disinformation Governance Board,” the interim review panel, chaired by former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, said Tuesday.

In the spring, the Department of Homeland Security faced swift backlash from Republicans and civil liberties groups on creating a board to address privacy concerns that arise with disinformation campaigns when information is shared between departments, as well as to ensure it’s done appropriately, and also appointed a controversial leader — Nina Jankowicz — to chair the board.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas faced criticism for putting the board together and even admitted its rollout was sloppy.

Less than a month after it was put together, DHS put the board’s activity on pause and commissioned a review.

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“Given the complete lack of information about this new initiative and the potential serious consequences of a government entity identifying and responding to ‘disinformation,’ we have serious concerns about the activities of this new Board, particularly under Ms. Jankowicz’s leadership,” Mike Turner and John Katko, Republican leaders of the House Committee on Homeland Security, wrote in a letter to Mayorkas in May.

The Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Disinformation Best Practices and Safeguards Subcommittee will issue a full report in early August “on how the Department can most effectively and appropriately address disinformation that poses a threat to the homeland, while increasing transparency and protecting free speech, civil rights, civil liberties and privacy.”

HSAC is a group of Homeland Security professionals picked by the secretary to offer advice on certain departmental issues.

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