WASHINGTON The Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that it has turn off a disinformation working group that generated controversy earlier this season when Republicans denounced it being an effort to curb free speech.
In a statement, DHS said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made a decision to terminate the Disinformation Governance Board carrying out a recommendation from the Homeland Security Advisory Council, which gives the DHS secretary with independent advice.
DHS will “continue steadily to address threat streams that undermine the security of our country in keeping with regulations, while upholding the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of the American people and promoting transparency inside our work,” the department’s statement said.
House Republican leaders called on Congress in-may to pass legislation that could turn off the board and block federal funds from used for similar activities. At that time, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called the group President Joe Biden’s “ministry of truth” and said it had been an “un-American abuse of power.”
GOP opponents of the board said its purpose was vague and claimed the administration wished to exploit any office and manipulate information.
Amid the backlash, DHS released an undeniable fact sheetconcerning the groups goals, saying, “With regards to DHSs work, the department is targeted on disinformation that threatens the security of the American people, including disinformation spread by foreign states such as for example Russia, China, and Iran, or other adversaries such as for example transnational criminal organizations and human smuggling organizations.”
In regards to a week after Republicans lashed out contrary to the board, the expert appointed to oversee it, Nina Jankowicz, resigned following the program was paused amid the GOP criticism. She said she and her family had received numerous death threats because the board was formed in April.
Republicans had accused Jankowicz of previously spreading misinformation. Jankowicz was a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, a public policy think tank, where she studied the intersection of democracy and technology in Central and Eastern Europe.
Rebecca Shabad is really a politics reporter for NBC News located in Washington.