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After Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed his department’s creation of a Disinformation Governance Board aimed at combating misinformation, Republican lawmakers were all over the announcement, accusing the Department of Homeland Security of going too far.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, joined the chorus of critics Thursday when he confronted Mayorkas face to face during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of DHS.
“Mr. Secretary, yesterday you announced the formation of Disinformation Governance Board at DHS. You put out a bulletin two months ago, a big fancy bulletin here, red, white and blue. You said that misleading narratives, mis-, dis-, and mal-information, MDM, as you call it, misleading narratives undermine the trust in government. I was just wondering, when the head of the CDC, Miss Walensky, said that the vaccinated can’t get the virus, did that undermine trust in government?”
Jordan went on to list more instances where current or former government officials put out significant statements that turned out to be questionable or even false.
“When the highest paid official in our government, the smartest man on the planet, Dr. Fauci, when he said the virus didn’t come from a lab, did that undermine trust in government? And will that be something that this governing board will look at?” Jordan asked. “How about when 51 former intel officials told us that the Hunter Biden story was–had all the earmarks of Russian misinformation? Will that be something that this governance board that you just formed, will you be looking into that? “
Mayorkas responded without addressing Jordan’s examples, only providing a statement on the board’s purpose.
“Congressman, the disinformation board addresses disinformation that imperils the safety and security of our homeland. And one of the primary areas that we are focused on is the dissemination of disinformation and its potential connectivity–,” Mayorkas said before Jordan cut him off to challenge his statement.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
“But that’s not what your bulletin talked about. It talked about COVID,” Jordan said. “It talked about COVID.”
Committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., interjected, telling Jordan his time was up and allowing Mayorkas to finish his response. He did so, finishing his previous sentence with “and its connectivity to violence.”
A DHS bulletin from February 2022 about terrorism threats discussed so-called “MDM” as a factor contributing to “a heightened threat environment.” While that bulletin blamed that environment on “[c]ontinued calls for violence directed at U.S. critical infrastructure,” it also blamed the situation on “misleading narratives” such as those “regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19.”