On May 6th, Florida Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about concerns he and constituents have had about the creation of the Disinformation Governance Board.
Many across the United States have expressed concerns about the potential for abuse of this Disinformation Governance Board.
Congressman Posey in his letter asked Secretary Mayorkas 1st Amendment related questions. The questions had included determining where is the line drawn with what is and isn't misinformation or disinformation. He specifically asked about who determines what is true or what is false. He also asked what qualifications would be for someone to be able to do this type of a job determining what is true and what is false.
Congressman Posey also questioned the role of DHS if another story like the Hunter Biden Laptop story was to happen again. In his letter, Congressman Posey said regarding the Hunter Biden Laptop and related press coverage, “more than 50 former top U.S. intelligence officials either intentionally misled the public or were duped into proclaiming the laptop was Russian disinformation. Social media companies blocked the sharing of information about the laptop, and major social media companies either banned or suppressed the sharing of information about the laptop.”
Congressman Posey asked how the Disinformation Governance Board would affect news reports about the various ideas of where the COVID-19 virus could have originated from. Some have said it originated in a wetmarket in Wuhan, China while others say it came from a high level infectious disease lab located in the same City. Conflicting reports have gone around about the points of origin, both claiming to be factually correct.
In his letter the Congressman said “in a 1984 [by George Orwell] dystopia, your statement would go unnoticed, but we have taken great care since our founding to not live in an Orwellian society; transparency is paramount.” This was said in regards to the initial announcement Secretary Mayorkas made during the a hearing with the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. The hearing was over the 2023 Budget Request for the Department of Homeland Security.
Congressman Posey then asked about how DHS was able to make the Disinformation Governance Board under current Federal Laws and for the “complete guidance” used to make that board.
Congressman Posey had asked about what the DHS’ definitions of disinformation and misinformation are. He pointed to how there could be “ambiguity” in those definitions. He said the word “misinformation” can be considered “subjective” in what is and is not misinformation.
Congressman Posey had asked about the priorities of this board, actions it has taken already, along with all the people involved with it. When it came to priorities, the Congressman wanted to know the groups of people that would be targeted by the board, along with new outlets the Disinformation Governance Board would be looking into.
The Congressman also asked about whether or not DHS would have any sort of collaboration with any other entity, such as a private or non-profit company. He also asked about whether or not those that are wrongly accused by the Disinformation Governance Board would have the chance to get “restitution.” Restitution in this case is compensation for wrongdoing to make someone whole again due to damages. The damages in this case would be losses because of wrongful targeting by the Disinformation Governance Board.
Congressman Posey also expressed concern about DHS being used to influence U.S. Elections through the Disinformation Governance Board. He pointed to the FBI being used for such purposes in the past few years.
Congressman Posey ended his letter to Secretary Mayorkas by saying “the concerns and anxieties elicited by your declaration of your establishment of a “mis, dis, information governance board” are real. Additionally, the timing of your revelation of the existence of such a board, less than a week before primary elections begin in the United States, is chilling. Your timely answers to these questions are expected, and I look forward to promptly receiving them.”
It’s worth noting that there is a document published by DHS in 2019 about Disinformation when President Trump did not have a DHS Secretary and a Deputy DHS Secretary. You can click here to view that document. In parts of the document, it singles out Conservatives, yet makes no mention of Liberals and left leaning news outlets.
If you would like to read further on this topic, below are some articles from various national news outlets that have written on this topic:
April 28th, 2022 - DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reveals Disinformation Governance Board to the Public for the first time during hearing with the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security - C-SPAN
April 29th, 2022 Twitter has a field day with 'cringe' videos of Biden's new disinformation czar singing Mary Poppins parody song and her 'Harry Potter' tribute band: 'This is enough of a reason to ban TikTok' - The Blaze
Congressman Posey’s letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas can be viewed below: