WASHINGTON, DC – Nina Jankowicz, who served as the head of the Biden Administration’s new and controversial Disinformation Governance Board (DGB), announced her resignation on Wednesday after the board was reportedly placed “on hold” amid free speech concerns and criticism over Jankowicz’s appointment.
Jankowicz, who was named as the executive director of the DGB, issued a statement explaining her decision to step down from the board just three weeks into its existence.
“With the Board’s work paused and its future uncertain…I have decided to leave DHS to return to my work in the public sphere,” Jankowicz said. “It is deeply disappointing that mischaracterizations of the Board became a distraction from the Department’s vital work, and indeed, along with recent events globally and nationally, embodies why it is necessary. I maintain my commitment to building awareness of disinformation’s threats and trust the Department will do the same.”
The DGB – which would be run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – was announced shortly after Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter in April, and would be tasked with policing the internet for “false information” regarding the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, among other subjects.
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However, the announcement of the board courted controversy from both sides of the political aisle as being “Orwellian,” with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) at a recent hearing blasted DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of having “no clue” when it comes to telling the American public what is and isn’t true.
“I have a greater respect for the American people than you do. I think the American people can figure out the truth,” Paul said. “But the thing is, is if you are going to go around saying that you’re the arbiter of information and of disinformation, I think you have no clue. And you don’t have the perspective of history knowing that disinformation, the largest progenitor of disinformation in our history, has probably been the U.S. government.”
In addition with their issues with the DGB itself, there was also bipartisan criticism of Jankowicz herself, with many politicians accusing her of spreading “disinformation” on social media, such as when she had discredited a story by the New York Post in October 2020 regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop being “Russian disinformation, and false.” However, the Post’s story – and the legally sketchy contents of Hunter’s laptop – would later be confirmed to be completely true.
Jankowicz also supported allegations – that have since been debunked – from the so-called “Steele dossier” that claimed that collusion between former President Donald Trump and the Russian government.
Three weeks after the DGB was announced, multiple DHS employees stated that it has been “paused” – possibly permanently – following intense blowback to the board’s stated mission, which many saw as promoting governmental censorship of free speech online.