On Wednesday U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) revealed new documents obtained from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of his investigation into President Joe Biden’s plans to establish a so-called “Disinformation Governance Board” to monitor and suppress the speech of American citizens. The hundreds of pages of heavily redacted internal emails, which can be read in full below, expose that DHS’s plans for the Disinformation Governance Board were much more extensive than the Biden administration has publicly acknowledged.
In June, whistleblower documents obtained by Senators Hawley and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) revealed a first-look at DHS’s internal plans for the Disinformation Governance Board, including a potential partnership with Twitter and a public-facing “Rumor Control Program.”
New documents now show that, despite DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s testimony in May that the Board hadn’t met, the Disinformation Governance Board Steering Group had begun meeting on a weekly basis as early as February 2022 and already had operational authorities.
The new documents also reveal that the Disinformation Governance Board plans to partner with Big Tech were far more extensive than DHS or the White House has admitted. Internal emails detail how DHS officials planned to meet with Meta’s Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher in February 2022, the same official who was in charge of security during Facebook’s suppression of the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden ahead of the 2020 election. The Disinformation Governance Board also planned to establish an “analytic exchange” with “industry partners” in Big Tech.
Finally, the documents expose how the Disinformation Governance Board coordinated with the Omidyar Network, a left-wing dark money organization that has funneled millions of dollars into liberal advocacy groups. Emails show the Board received a document known as the “Z Memo” from the Omidyar Network in March. One week later, Jankowicz shared an op-ed authored by Omidyar staff with her colleagues.
In a new letter to Secretary Mayorkas, Senator Hawley blasts the administration over their lack of transparency and demands DHS immediately provide Congress with full, unredacted copies of all documents produced.
Read the internal DHS documents obtained by Senator Hawley here:
Read Senator Hawley’s letter to Secretary Mayorkas in full here or below:
November 30, 2022
The Hon. Alejandro Mayorkas
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
2707 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Secretary Mayorkas:
I write concerning new documents relating to Nina Jankowicz and the Disinformation Governance Board. As you know, on June 7, 2022, Senator Grassley and I expressed alarm over your decision to establish an unconstitutional Disinformation Board within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In that letter, we published documents obtained through a whistleblower that outlined the pervasive scope and ambitions of the Disinformation Board. It is clear based on the latest documents you have finally turned over that the Department still has not told the truth about its continuing efforts to censor political speech.
On May 4, 2022, in response to my questioning, you testified, “The board has not yet met.” That was untrue. Documents that your own Department recently produced to my office show that the Disinformation Governance Board’s Steering Group met as early as February 4, 2022, and was meeting on a weekly basis. Shortly after Ms. Jankowicz onboarded, she requested “a copy of the last 2-3 steering group meeting agendas.” Despite your assertions to the contrary, the board appeared to have operational authorities: Ms. Jankowicz indicated it was the responsibility of Disinformation Board members to “ensure that their respective components implement, execute, and follow Board decisions.”
Our whistleblower documents previously revealed that the Board was engaging with Twitter on possible censorship activities. These new records show even more Big Tech companies were involved. The Disinformation Board planned to meet with Nathaniel Gleicher of Meta (formerly Facebook), who was head of security policy at that company during the controversy over the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story, and had contacts with the Omidyar Network, a liberal dark money group which has poured millions into combatting “misinformation”.
The documents further show that the Disinformation Board’s Executive Director, Nina Jankowicz, repeatedly pushed for DHS to establish an “analytic exchange” with “industry partners”—possibly a portal for Big Tech companies to coordinate speech suppression with the government. She also pressed for so-called disinformation experts to meet with the Board, including one who wrote that “[c]onservative consumers are more likely to be susceptible to fake news and misinformation” and “most fake news is conservative-leaning.” Another expert she identified has posted about “Why Poor Whites Chant Trump” and argued that “Anti-immigrant disinformation is strongly associated with the ideology of exclusion and native supremacy that underpin [sic] right-wing popularism and far-right extremism.” We now also know that when you finally abolished the Disinformation Board, the Board’s deputy, Elizabeth Kozey, was hired into the White House, where she works in the National Security Council’s Resilience & Response Directorate.
A federal court recently concluded that an official in your department is “supervising the ‘nerve center’ of federally directed censorship.” In light of that, I would have hoped you would be more forthcoming. Instead, you have continued your blatant attempt to avoid transparency and sidestep congressional oversight. The documents you turned over to my office, six months after I requested them, are so heavily redacted most are illegible.
So that Congress can consider remedial legislation, please provide unredacted copies of all documents produced to Congress as well as all records responsive to my oversight requests dated April 28, May 23, July 7, July 13, September 21, and November 14.
As part of my investigation into the Disinformation Board, I will be releasing for the public all documents in my possession so Americans can judge for themselves your agency’s efforts to censor speech.
United States Senator