Homeland Security’s Rebooted Disinformation Plan Is No Better Than the First

COMMENTARY Civil Rights

Homeland Security’s Rebooted Disinformation Plan Is No Better Than the First

May 25th, 2022 3 min read

Commentary By

Lora Ries @lora_ries

Director, Border Security and Immigration Center

James Jay Carafano @JJCarafano

Vice President, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute

U.S. President Joe Biden is seen in Tokyo, Japan on May 23, 2022. SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

The federal government has no business determining what is truth.

The federal government, politicians, and tech companies have developed a significant reliance on censoring content that goes against their narrative.

Americans should remain skeptical of the administration’s spin to justify its content control and censorship.

Constitutionalists, free-speech lovers, and sane people alike cheered upon hearing the announcements that the Department of Homeland Security was disbanding its nascent Disinformation Governance Board and the board’s designated head, Nina Jankowicz, was resigning.

The reasons why are obvious: The federal government has no business determining what is truth, it is nowhere near the mission of Homeland Security, and Jankowicz had a consistently wrong record of identifying “disinformation.”

But Americans should take no comfort in the fact that the Biden administration’s efforts to censor information from within DHS and elsewhere will end. In fact, the administration has announced that former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick will take the baton from Jankowicz and continue down the disinformation track.

This plan is no better than the first one.

Chertoff and Gorelick, leaders of Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ Homeland Security Advisory Council, have been tasked with giving recommendations on how DHS “can garner public trust surrounding its disinformation efforts.” What the left and the Biden administration fail to recognize is that it cannot gain the public’s trust regarding misinformation or disinformation.

Americans have suffered through far too much of such labeling and censorship since 2020 related to COVID-19, vaccines, masks, lockdowns, elections, and more. The federal government, politicians, tech companies—separately and in concert—have developed a significant reliance on censoring content that goes against their narrative. They’ve only recently started admitting this tactic. Americans are right to distrust the administration’s future spin regarding disinformation.

The choice of successors to take up the disinformation baton is also concerning. As a former secretary of the department, it is disheartening that Chertoff is giving attention and credibility to this effort that continues to take DHS’ eye off the ball from true terrorist threats and other mission priorities.

Following 9/11, the largest terrorist attack on our country, after-action investigations and analysis of how terrorists were able to pull off the attack revealed that a wall of separation had descended between law enforcement and the intelligence community. Gorelick was exposed as responsible for directing that the FBI and federal prosecutors ignore information gathered through intelligence investigations. This obstacle was listed as one of the many factors that led to the terrorist attack by the 9/11 Commission. Typical of how Washington, D.C., operates, Gorelick was on the 9/11 Commission.

To course-correct, post-9/11 solutions included several information-sharing efforts, such as joint terrorism task forces and fusion centers. Unfortunately for Americans, memories are short, and the pendulum has swung back to pre-9/11 practices.

Politicians now regularly prohibit law enforcement and other agencies from sharing information with the Department of Homeland Security, particularly Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, both of which produce valuable intelligence.

In addition, the Biden administration has thrown open the border, allowing foreign nationals from over 160 countries to enter the U.S. illegally and releases most of them into our interior. At the same time, the administration is encouraging more asylum fraud, which allows illegal aliens, including terrorists, to remain in the U.S. for years. All of this is a recipe for another devastating terrorist attack.

Compounding these dangerous conditions, the Department of Homeland Security under Mayorkas has prioritized all the wrong things: climate changediversity and equity, LGBT Pride month, white supremacists, and now, “disinformation.”

To put Gorelick, the director of the information wall of separation, in charge of disinformation lacks self-awareness at a minimum, and handicaps their own efforts to garner public trust in their disinformation efforts.

Congress needs to keep a close eye on continued disinformation efforts by the Biden administration in the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and elsewhere to defund and disband such efforts.

Americans should remain skeptical of the administration’s spin to justify its content control and censorship. Such pressure successfully brought the rapid demise of the Disinformation Governance Board and the “Mary Poppins of the Ministry of Truth.”

This vigilance must continue because the administration won’t stop, and the 2.0 version is no better.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal