The new Disinformation Governance Board assembled by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has drawn fire since Mayorkas mentioned its formation in an April 27 FY2023 Budget Request Hearing with Homeland Security. Mayorkas received a letter from Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) arguing that "Congress should be setting American policy in this area" and that it may "be a direct violation of provisions of the Antideficiency Act." Executive Director, Nina Jankowicz, has also drawn scrutiny from many for her views on disinformation.
Senator Hagerty's April 29 letter to Mayorkas states that the Board may be illegal, and its formation should be subject to review by Congress. He also cites the Antideficiency Act, "which prohibits 'making or authorizing an expenditure from, or creating or authorizing an obligation under, any appropriation or fund in excess of the amount available in the appropriation or fund unless authorized by law.'” According to Hagerty, "it appears that the amount available for this action is 'none' and that Congress explicitly defunded it, just weeks ago." Hagerty's letter concludes:
"Plainly, this DHS Disinformation Governance Board imposing significant constraints on the bedrock of American values and freedoms and new costs on the American people requires congressional review and may be a violation of the Antideficiency Act. So that Americans’ elected representatives may timely review the rules and policies implementing this action as required under federal law, please confirm by Monday, May 16, that you will submit it to Congress before it purports to take effect. Further, in order to comply with the Antideficiency Act, you will need to submit a letter to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the President, the Congress, and the Comptroller General of the United States providing specific information on the violation if it has indeed occurred."
Hagerty also expresses his concerns over the Board's infringement on Americans' right to free speech. "Establishment of this board will significantly impact Americans’ free speech rights and cuts across numerous areas of government and society. Hagerty argues, "It will change the relationship between the government and the governed to whom it answers." He also says the formation of the Board will increase administrative costs, further burdening the American taxpayer.
A Brief History of Nina Jankowicz
Jankowicz, who joined the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in 2013, described herself as "someone who has made a career in democracy assistance" in a now archived NDI Democracy Works blog. A story in Multipolarista by Benjamin Norton, an independent journalist who founded the Latin American publication, claims that Jankowicz was essentially helping with regime change in a CIA cutout. Norton writes:
"Jankowicz established herself professionally in Washington by working for several years for the National Democratic Institute (NDI). This NDI is a branch of the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA front created by the Ronald Reagan administration at the end of the first cold war to fund regime-change operations from the Eastern Bloc to Nicaragua.
NED co-founder Allen Weinstein admitted in the Washington Post in 1991, 'A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.' The NDI is an arm of the NED that is affiliated with the Democratic Party. (The Republican Party has its own branch of the NED, called the International Republican Institute, or IRI.)
At the NDI, Jankowicz oversaw so-called “democracy assistance programs” in Russia in Belarus. In other words, she helped run regime-change operations aimed at overthrowing these independent Eastern European governments. US intelligence cutouts like the NDI frequently use “democracy assistance” as a euphemism to mean regime change."
According to Norton, the focus of her work at NDI was "destabilization operations targeting Russia and Belarus."
When Trump won in 2016, information circulated to indicate that Trump won because of a "Russian Disinformation Campaign." It was then that Jankowicz and many other Democratic operatives shifted their focus to conspiratorial Russian disinformation campaigns on social media platforms. Norton also writes that she boasted on her website that she worked in Ukraine "from 2016 to 2017 [where] she advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on disinformation and strategic communications,” a position sponsored by the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship. She then became a disinformation "global fellow" at the Wilson Center, a "government-funded think tank that advocates for aggressive foreign policy."
Jankowicz has sent out numerous TikTok and Twitter posts with her views on disinformation. In 2017, she called WikiLeaks disinformation scum. And a more recent post shows her saying that the allegations of Hunter Biden's involvement resulted from a disinformation campaign that "came from Russia."
Jankowicz Draws Ire at Home in Loudoun County
A recent appearance by Nina Jankowicz has garnered the attention of some Loudoun County residents where Jankowicz lives. Loudoun County parents have been waging battle with the Loudoun County Public School Board on Critical Race Theory (CRT) and the alleged failure in the reporting of sexual assault in the district. It is also the D.C. suburb to which Attorney General Merrick Garland may have been referring in his October memorandum intimating that parents showing up at school board meetings are involved in "harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, teachers, and staff." The memo was written in response to an earlier letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA), now scrubbed from the internet, implicating parents in potential acts of “domestic terrorism.”
At an appearance in Cleveland, Jankowicz accuses Republicans and others of seizing upon and "profiting from" the "hot button issue" of CRT.
Ian Prior, a resident and parent-activist from Loudoun County, sent an email on Wednesday proposing that his organization, Fight For Schools, would host a meeting between a group of Loudoun parents and DHS Disinformation Czar and Loudoun County resident Nina Jankowicz. The email and Prior's statement challenge her portrayal of the disinformation spreaders and are screen-capped below:
Jankowicz Invitation/Email/Fight For Schools