Please select your state
so that we can show you the most relevant content.
“Key questions about the Disinformation
Governance Board remain unanswered.”
- – AFP Foundation on May 9, 2022
More than a year after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced and subsequently disbanded its Disinformation Governance Board, there remain numerous questions about the justification for the Board, the lack of guardrails for DHS components working on disinformation issues, and the agency’s disturbing lack of transparency.
Americans for Prosperity Foundation filed a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit last year to try to answer these questions. To date, AFPF staff have reviewed nearly 1,700 pages of heavily redacted internal DHS documents, including over 1,000 pages obtained through litigation.
The documents do little to dispel the initial concerns about the Board raised by AFPF and civil liberties advocates across a broad ideological spectrum—from the ACLU to the Knight First Amendment Institute to GOP Congress members.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will testify before the House Judiciary Committee today. Here’s what lawmakers should focus on.
According to statements made by Secretary Mayorkas and DHS officials, DHS purportedly has rogue components conducting disinformation work without guidelines or guardrails. So, either that’s true and needs to be investigated, or DHS misled the public about the need for the Board.
A DHS Fact Sheet from May 2, 2022, said,
“The Department has renewed its commitment to transparency and openness with the public and Congress. DHS will proactively release comprehensive quarterly reports about the working group’s activities to Congress, including its oversight committees.”
But DHS is still not transparent about the Board even though it was disbanded over a year ago. The agency is withholding whole documents about the Board’s work and redacting large swaths of text, including innocuous information that was withheld for no apparent reason. For example, DHS withheld the following text from an email produced to AFPF:
But released the text in response to an inquiry from Senator Hawley and Senator Grassley:
There is no rhyme or reason to these withholdings, and they undermine any claim that DHS is committed to transparency.
DHS wields significant authority over Americans, so its deeply troubling that a year later there remains a lack of transparency around the agency’s proposed government program to monitor speech. AFPF will continue to push for more transparency from DHS and to uncover the truth about the Disinformation Governance Board.
(Check out the New York Post feature on how Secretary Mayorkas used private email for government business.)
Receive email alerts to learn how to get involved