(The Center Square) – Critics have sounded the alarm after the Department of Homeland Security announced the creation of a new federal committee that will monitor and fight speech it considers “disinformation.”
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas spoke about the “Disinformation Governance Board” when testifying before Congress this week. Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that must be addressed with federal law enforcement powers. DHS has pointed out disinformation to migrants as well as Russian disinformation.
“The goal is to bring together the resources of (DHS) to address this threat,” he said.
What or who poses a threat is determined by the federal government, and critics say that’s a big problem.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., posted a video on Twitter saying the “Soviet-style censorship agency” was proof “that the Marxist left is after your most basic constitutional rights.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but the Department of Homeland Security just set up a new office that will be a language police force,” Rubio said. “They’re basically going to be focused on misinformation…so instead of focusing on the Department of Homeland Security preventing drugs from entering America, or securing the border, stopping illegal immigration, they’re not going to focus on that.” They focus on controlling speech and making sure people can’t relay information or say things that they believe are misinformation.
“Guys, it’s time to wake up,” he added. “If you don’t think these people are after freedom of speech. If you don’t think they’re… after freedom, you better believe it now.”
Those concerns were compounded when it was revealed that Nina Jankowicz announced online that she would “serve in the Biden administration [DHS] and help shape our efforts to counter disinformation.” Jankowicz worked as a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center, where her research focused on disinformation.
Critics were quick to point to Jankowicz’s comments on the Hunter Biden laptop story and disinformation. The laptop story has become a central point in the censorship debate, particularly on social media, as evidence mounts to corroborate many parts of this story that were labeled misinformation and censored by mainstream and social media in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election .
Hunter Biden, the President’s son, was investigated as to how he made large sums of money abroad and whether President Joe Biden had knowledge of the deals, was involved in them, or could in any way be compromised. The US Department of Justice is currently investigating Hunter Biden.
“Apparently back on ‘Laptop from Hell’ – Biden finds 50 former Natsec officials and 5 former CIA chiefs believe laptop is Russian influenced operation,” she wrote on Twitter during the 2020 presidential campaign.
After Jankowicz had to take criticism this week, she defended her statements.
“For those who believe this tweet is key to all of my views, it is simply a direct quote from both candidates during the last presidential debate,” she said. “If you look at my timeline you will see that I tweeted live that evening.”
The DHS plan comes just days after billionaire Elon Musk all but secured the purchase of Twitter. Musk has stressed the need to restore freedom of expression to the platform, calling it a modern “town square” for our democracy.
Notably, Twitter censored Hunter Biden’s story during the last presidential election.
By Casey Harper | The middle square