WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and more than 15 other senators in sending a letter to Chairman Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to oppose the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Disinformation Governance Board and urge that any funding for this board be prohibited in the FY 2023 appropriations bill.
“While DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified that the board will not be used for political purposes and did his best to explain away serious concerns raised, little remains known as to what the board will actually do, how it will determine what is disinformation, and the scope in which it will take to monitor disinformation from American citizens. . . . Although recent reports indicate that the board’s operations have been ‘paused’, Ms. Jankowicz has resigned, and its dissolution is being considered by DHS, its future remains as unclear as its mission,” the senators wrote.
“The federal government already has authorities to counter foreign disinformation and propaganda through the Department of State’s Global Engagement Center. Additionally, DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is responsible for informing Americans about disinformation related to elections and critical infrastructure. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the lead agency in the Foreign Influence Task Force. There is no gap in our nation’s ability to counter disinformation threats that this board fills,” continued the senators.
“While DHS has promised the board will ‘protect privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties,’ we do not take solace in words alone. A fine line exists between tackling disinformation and government censorship. Exactly where the Disinformation Governance Board falls on this line remains unclear and the potential for abuse is so egregious that we urge any and all funding for the board be prohibited during the Homeland Security appropriations process,” they concluded.
Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), James Lankford (R-Okla), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also signed the letter.
The letter is available here.