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White House defends DHS ‘disinformation’ board: ‘Not sure who opposes that effort’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday defended a recently-announced Department of Homeland Security effort to combat “disinformation” on issues related to COVID-19 and elections.

Asked by Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich for more information what DHS’ Disinformation Governance Board would be doing specifically, Psaki said, “I really haven’t dug into this exactly, I mean, we of course support this effort but let me see if I can get more specifics.”

The White House announced its support for an effort from the DHS to crack down on what it considers to be online disinformation. 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, April 28, 2022.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified Wednesday that a Disinformation Governance Board had recently been created to combat online disinformation and Politico reported that Nina Jankowicz, who previously served as a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, will head the board as executive director.

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“We know there has been a range of [disinformation] out there about a range of topics, I mean, including COVID for example, and also elections and eligibility,” Psaki said, adding that she would check for additional information on what the board plans to do.

Asked by Heinrich about prior statements made by Jankowicz and how the administration can “assuage concerns” over her appointment to lead the effort fairly, Psaki responded, “It sounds like the objective of the board is to prevent disinformation and misinformation from traveling around the country in a range of communities. I’m not sure who opposes that effort.”

Psaki told reporters she was unsure of who the individual is that was chosen to head the initiative and did not have “any information” related to Jankowicz to discuss.

Press secretary Jen Psaki speaks at a daily White House briefing on April 28, 2022.

Press secretary Jen Psaki speaks at a daily White House briefing on April 28, 2022.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Amid her selection to serve as executive director for the newly announced board, Jankowicz, who previously served as a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, is facing renewed criticism for past comments she made regarding the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Jankowicz has previously referred the laptop, which has been authenticated by multiple news outlets, as a “Trump campaign product” and suggested it was a “Russian influence op.”

Jankowicz attempted to clarify her October 2020 tweet this week saying that she was simply live tweeting a presidential debate.

Members of Congress and critics on social media have blasted the decision to appoint Jankowicz and expressed concern she would not be an impartial director of the board.

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“Rather than police our border, Homeland Security has decided to make policing Americans’ speech its top priority,” Republican Sen. Josh Hawley wrote in a tweet. “They’re creating a Disinformation Board. No, really. And take a look at the views of the leftist radical running it.”

“Apparently this person is the new head of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board,” Washington Free Beacon reporter Chuck Ross tweeted. “Republicans did not fund the Steele dossier.”

Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this article.

Kyle Morris covers politics for Fox News. On Twitter: @RealKyleMorris.

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