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BREAKING: Biden admin to 'pause' Disinformation Governance Board after backlash

Tech reporter Taylor Lorenz said that the "pause" is in part due to political commentator Jack Posobiec, along with publications like The Post Millennial, New York Post, Breitbart, and Daily Caller.

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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Following concerns being raised in regards to the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board, launched three weeks ago, the department is reportedly putting this project on a "pause."

According to The Washington Post, multiple employees working within the DHS said that the program is being "paused" just three weeks after its announcement. Tech reporter Taylor Lorenz said that the "pause" is in part due to political commentator Jack Posobiec, who dug deep in the named head of the board, Nina Jankowicz, along with publications like The Post Millennial, the New York Post, Breitbart, and Daily Caller.

On Monday, those with knowledge of the situation said that DHS decided to shut down the board. The following morning, Nina Jankowicz had drafted a resignation letter in response.

The Washington Post reported: "But Tuesday night, Jankowicz was pulled into an urgent call with DHS officials who gave her the choice to stay on, even as the department’s work was put on hold because of the backlash it faced, according to multiple people with knowledge of the call."

Groups working on mis-, dis-, and mal-information within the DHS have reportedly been suspended, with the board potentially facing cancellation pending a review from the Homeland Security Advisory Council. Jankowicz is reportedly evaluating her position within the DHS.

"Nina Jankowicz has been subjected to unjustified and vile personal attacks and physical threats," a DHS spokesperson told the Post in a statement. "In congressional hearings and in media interviews, the Secretary has repeatedly defended her as eminently qualified and underscored the importance of the Department’s disinformation work, and he will continue to do so."

The Washington Post's article titled "How the Biden administration let right-wing attacks derail its disinformation efforts" places the blame for the ending of this program on conservatives on social media, saying that "Jankowicz’s experience is a prime example of how the right-wing Internet apparatus operates, where far-right influencers attempt to identify a target, present a narrative and then repeat mischaracterizations across social media and websites with the aim of discrediting and attacking anyone who seeks to challenge them."

The article took aim first at Human Events’ Jack Posobiec, and his tweets regarding the creation of a “Ministry of Truth," a title that spread across social media.

Lorenz wrote that by the end of the day that the board was announced, Posobiec’s followers "sprung into action," publishing more than 50,000 tweets mentioning the board, as well as Jankowicz.

"Just hours after Jankowicz tweeted about her new job, far-right influencer Jack Posobiec posted tweets accusing the Biden administration of creating a 'Ministry of Truth.' Posobiec’s 1.7 million followers quickly sprung into action. By the end of the day, there were at least 53,235 posts on Twitter mentioning 'Disinformation Governance Board,' many referencing Jankowicz by name, according to a report by Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that conducts public-interest research. In the days following, that number skyrocketed," Lorenz wrote.

In response to the "hit piece," Posobiec said that "I'm not going anywhere."

The Washington Post claimed that Posobiec's initial tweets regarding Jankowicz and the board "shaped the narrative and Jankowicz was positioned as the primary target," with Republican lawmakers "echo[ing]" Posobiec's talking points on the board.

According to The Washington Post, the board was created "to study best practices in combating the harmful effects of disinformation and to help DHS counter viral lies and propaganda that could threaten domestic security," and that Jankowicz had no "power or ability to declare what is true or false, or compel Internet providers, social media platforms or public schools to take action against certain types of speech. In fact, the board itself had no power or authority to make any operational decisions."

"The Board’s purpose has been grossly mischaracterized; it will not police speech," the DHS spokesperson said. "Quite the opposite, its focus is to ensure that freedom of speech is protected."

Lorenz wrote that right-leaning media outlets like Fox News, the New York Post, and The Post Millennial "began mining Jankowicz’s past social media posts and publishing articles to generate controversy," with Fox mentioning the board or Jankowicz in around 70 percent of their one-hour segments.

"These smears leveled by bad-faith, right-wing actors against a deeply qualified expert and against efforts to better combat human smuggling and domestic terrorism are disgusting," deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates told The Washington Post.

While Jankowicz issued a comment regarding the situation on April 27, she was reportedly told to remain silent by DHS officials, people close to the her told The Washington Post.

Lorenz called the movement against the DHS board and Jancowicz a "textbook disinformation campaign," stating that Democrat politicians and allies remained silent in Jankowicz’s defense.

Shortly after the announcement of the board, Jancowicz was quickly revealed to have spread disinformation herself on a number of topics, and seemingly has taken a stance against free speech.

In one tweet, Jankowicz called the Hunter Biden laptop story a "fairy tale, and in another, she said that "[intelligence community] has a high degree of confidence that the Kremlin used proxies to push influence narratives, including misleading or unsubstantiated claims about President Biden, to US media, officials, and influencers, some close to President Trump."

"A clear nod to the alleged Hunter laptop," she added.

Jankowicz wrote in one tweet regarding Trump, "And once again for the people in the back: the 'free speech vs censorship' framing is a false dichotomy."

In another tweet regarding free speech, Jankowicz said she "shudders to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities."

Jankowicz wrote in one tweet regarding Trump, "And once again for the people in the back: the 'free speech vs censorship' framing is a false dichotomy."

One one uncovered clip, Jankowicz said that that the executive branch shouldn’t be determining what is fake news or not.

"Imagine that, you know, with President Trump right now calling all of these news organizations that have inconvenient for him stories that they — that they're getting out there that he's calling fake news, and now lashing out at platforms," said Jankowicz.

"I would never want to see our executive branch have that sort of power," she added.

In response to The Washington Post article, Twitter users were quick to make noted about author Lorenz, who previously came into news headlines for doxxing the owner of the Twitter account Libs of TikTok.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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