In light of the controversy surrounding the Biden administration's creation of a “Disinformation board” which is eerily similar to the Ministry of Truth in the novel 1984, CNN’s Dana Bash while hosting State of the Union, challenged Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the Orwellian-sounding board.
After questioning Mayorkas about the ongoing crisis at the southern border, Bash switched gears and asked: "the disinformation governance board. You unveiled that this week. Republicans are calling it Orwellian and comparing it to the ministry of truth in the novel 1984. Can you clarify what exactly is this? What exactly will this disinformation governance board do? Will it monitor American citizens?"
Mayorkas took issue with the characterization claiming that “those criticisms are precisely the opposite of what this small working group within the Department of Homeland Security will do.” He then parroted a typical Democrat line that they use when they realize their policies are unpopular: “I think we probably could have done a better job of communicating what it does and does not do."
After claiming that the Department of Homeland Security “has been addressing it for years” and that the main “disinformation” threat they are monitoring is from “Russia, China, [and] Iran”, Bash pushed back: “We know the problems but it's still not clear to me how this governance board will act. What will it do?”
Mayorkas explained the purpose of the disinformation board in bureaucratic gibberish, mumbling that the board “works to ensure that the way in which we address threats, the connectivity between threats and acts of violence are addressed without infringing on free speech.”
Yet Bash was more concerned about whether American citizens would be monitored. Mayorkas insisted that they wouldn’t because “we in the Department of Homeland Security don't monitor American citizens.”
When asked if Nina Jankowicz would be neutral in her role in leading the disinformation board. Mayorkas insisted that she was “imminently qualified” and a “renowned expert in the field of disinformation.” After not answering the question, Bash asked again if she would be neutral and Mayorkas claimed she would be.
Bash then asked if he would be comfortable if Donald Trump was President and created a disinformation board and Mayorkas never answered the question directly. Instead, he ranted about how the board “gathers together best practices” and works to safeguard the “right of free speech” and “civil liberties” and that the board is an “extraordinarily important endeavor.”
We all know the answer to Bash’s question. If Donald Trump created a board to combat “disinformation” Mayorkas and everyone else involved in this plot would be on CNN wailing about how Orwellian it is.
To read the relevant transcript click “expand”:
CNN’s State of the Union
9:09:09 a.m. Eastern
DANA BASH: Let's talk about a different topic, which is what you are calling, your department is calling, the disinformation governance board. You unveiled that this week. Republicans are calling it Orwellian and comparing it to the ministry of truth in the novel "1984". Can you clarify what exactly is this? What exactly will this disinformation governance board do? Will it monitor American citizens?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: Dana, I'm very pleased to do so. It's clear, I mean, those criticisms are precisely the opposite of what this small working group within the Department of Homeland Security will do. And I think we probably could have done a better job of communicating what it does and does not do.
The fact is that disinformation that creates a threat to the security of the homeland is our responsibility to address. And this department has been addressing it for years. Throughout the years of the prior administration in an ongoing basis. Disinformation from Russia, China, Iran.
BASH: Right. We know the problems but it's still not clear to me how this governance board will act. What will it do?
MAYORKAS: So, what it does is it works to ensure that the way in which we address threats, the connectivity between threats and acts of violence are addressed without infringing on free speech. Protecting civil rights and civil liberties. The right of privacy. And the board, this working group, internal working group, will draw from best practices and communicate those best practices to the operators, because the board does not have operational authority.
BASH: Will American citizens be monitored?
BASH: Guarantee that?
MAYORKAS: So what we do, we in the Department of Homeland Security don't monitor American citizens.
BASH: You don't, but will this change that?
MAYORKAS: No, no, the board does not have any operational authority or capability. What it will do is gather together best practices in addressing the threat of disinformation from foreign state adversaries, from the cartels and disseminate those best practices to the operators that have been executing and addressing this threat for years.
BASH: Republicans are criticizing your decision, the administration's decision, to choose Nina Jankowicz to lead this disinformation board. They say she is not somebody who is neutral. Your response?
MAYORKAS: Imminently qualified, a renowned expert in the field of disinformation.
BASH: And neutral?
MAYORKAS: Absolutely so.
BASH: Would you be okay if Donald Trump were President, if he created this disinformation governance board or if it is in place and he wins again in 2024, that he's in charge of such a thing?
MAYORKAS: I believe that this working group that gathers together best practices, makes sure that our work is coordinated, consistent with those best practices, that we're safeguarding the right of free speech, that we're safeguarding civil liberties. I think it's an extraordinarily important endeavor.