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Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., on Sunday lambasted the Department of Homeland Security’s new Disinformation Governance Council to combat online disinformation, calling it “Orwellian.”
Johnson made the comment Sunday during an interview with ‘Sunday Morning Futures’, adding that the ‘strange’ and ‘unconstitutional’ ‘disinformation governance committee’ should never have been created.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced in testimony Wednesday before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security that DHS had created the Disinformation Governance Council.
“The goal is to marshal the resources of (DHS) to deal with this threat,” Mayorkas said during the hearing, adding that the department is focused on spreading misinformation in minority communities ahead of the elections. mid-term of 2022.
Federal and state lawmakers, including Johnson, constitutional experts and other experts are voicing concern about the Department of Homeland Security’s new disinformation committee, which they say is the Biden administration’s attempt to stifle the freedom of expression.
Johnson, who is a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Mayorkas on Wednesday, requesting information about DHS’s plans to create the disinformation committee.
“In my letter, I asked Secretary Mayorkas, under what authority are you establishing this governing council? he told host Maria Bartiromo. “But, they are cheeky. They do what they accuse others of doing. They flood the town square with all kinds of information over and over, over and over again, and it’s all about covering up. »
He argued that the Biden administration is “fundamentally destroying this country with open borders, high inflation for 40 years, record gas prices and now something to restrict free speech.”
“Every American should wake up to the urgency of the moment,” he warned. “Every American should be afraid of what Democratic governance and what Democratic policies are doing to destroy this nation. »
“They are fundamentally destroying America,” Johnson continued.
He also criticized the choice of disinformation chief Nina Jankowicz on Sunday.
Jankowicz is responsible for the government’s Department of Homeland Security effort to combat online disinformation on issues such as elections and the coronavirus. The council also hopes to counter misleading information used by smugglers to target migrants trying to enter the United States, according to DHS.
Jankowicz has a history as a partisan actor, having openly supported Biden and Hillary Clinton in the last two elections. She praised Christopher Steele on Twitter as an expert on the origins of misinformation and she called Hunter Biden’s laptop story “alleged” and likely part of a Kremlin influence operation.
REPUBLICANS ACCUSE MAYORKAS OF DISCREDITING ‘LEGITIMATE CRITICISM’ WITH ‘DISINFORMATION’ COUNCIL, ASK FOR INFO
In an October 2020 Washington Post op-ed, she touted testimony she had just given before the House Intelligence Committee on the threat of online disinformation, where she suggested the laptop had a “ illicit origin”.
“The person they have [DHS] named is a Democratic propagandist,” Johnson explained. “She pushed Russian collusion with the Trump campaign hoax. She pushed the hoax that the laptop was a form of Russian information campaign. These are probably two of the most egregious and, I would argue, most effective pieces of misinformation. »
“They had more impact on our body politic, on our elections than anything I can think of,” he continued. “It certainly had more impact than anything Russia could have dreamed of, and they were leading the charge on this disinformation. »
When FOX News reached out to DHS for comment Sunday, a spokesperson pointed to Sec. Mayorkas’ comments on “Fox News Sunday”.
Mayorkas acknowledged that there is “no doubt” the department “could have done a better job of communicating” what the council is doing.
“This is a task force that adopts best practices to ensure that, in the fight against disinformation that poses a threat to the homeland, does our job, does not infringe on freedom of expression . Does not infringe on civil rights, civil liberties,” Mayorkas added. “It’s not about speeches. It’s about connectedness to violence. »
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“That’s what we have to tackle,” he continued. “An individual has the right to speak freely to spit anti-Semitic rhetoric, what he does not have the right to do is take hostages in a synagogue. And that’s where we come in. »
Fox News’ Kelly Laco and David Rutz contributed to this report.