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In a letter addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Thursday, Hawley voiced “deep concern” over the division’s choice to create a brand new “Disinformation Governance Board.”
“I confess, I at first thought this announcement was satire. Surely, no American administration would ever use the power of government to sit in judgment on the First Amendment speech of its own citizens,” Hawley wrote. “Sadly, I was mistaken. Rather than protecting our border or the American homeland, you have chosen to make policing Americans’ speech your priority. This new board is most certainly unconstitutional and should be dissolved immediately.”
Hawley argued that whereas Democrats for years have “controlled the public square through Big Tech allies,” Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter “has shown just how tenuous that control is.” The senator mentioned it may be assumed the only goal of the disinformation board “will be to marshal the power of the federal government to censor conservative and dissenting speech.”
Sen. Josh Hawley asks questions throughout a Senate Judiciary Committee affirmation listening to Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc through Getty Images)
“This is dangerous and un-American,” he wrote. “The board should be immediately dissolved.”
In testifying earlier than the House Appropriations Subcommittee to debate the fiscal 2023 finances for the Department of Homeland Security, Mayorkas mentioned Wednesday a “Disinformation Governance Board” had not too long ago been created and might be led by Undersecretary for Policy Rob Silvers and principal deputy basic counsel Jennifer Gaskill. He mentioned the aim of the board was to concentrate on the obvious unfold of misinformation on-line focusing on minority communities, particularly earlier than the midterms.
Hours later, Politico first reported that Nina Jankowicz, a former world disinformation fellow on the Wilson Center, would head the board as government director.
Jankowicz later tweeted that one of many key causes the board was established is to keep up the division’s dedication to defending free speech, privacy, civil rights and civil liberties.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies earlier than the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, April 28, 2022.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
“This is particularly ironic given Jankowicz’ extensive criticism of free speech and the First Amendment,” Hawley wrote. “Jankowicz has claimed that the ‘free speech vs. censorship’ framing is a false dichotomy. And when Elon Musk announced his acquisition of Twitter, she said, ‘I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities… which are already shouldering… disproportionate amounts of this abuse.’”
Hawley mentioned the selection of Jankowicz to guide the board as a supposed skilled was significantly troubling given her “long history of partisan attacks.”
Jankowicz has additionally confronted criticism for her previous remarks dismissing the Hunter Biden laptop computer report as a “Trump campaign product,” in addition to claims asserting that American is “systemically racist.”
Hawley doubled down on criticism of Mayorkas, arguing his division for properly over a yr has “consistently treated policy views as disinformation to be monitored and investigated.”
Mayorkas returned to Congress Thursday morning to testify earlier than House Judiciary Committee on the Biden administration’s choice to elevate Title 42, Trump’s pandemic-era order that allows the federal authorities to ban the circulation of migrants throughout the border to stop the unfold of illness.