Senate Republicans asserted in a letter on Tuesday that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas gave “apparently misleading” testimony to Congress about his disinformation board.
Republicans demanded Democrats call Mr. Mayorkas back for another chance to explain what he’s doing.
While Mayorkas told lawmakers in a May 4th hearing that his disinformation board hadn’t started work yet, new documents suggest that wasn’t accurate.
The documents show the board was stood up earlier this year, the secretary signed a charter, and board members were already meeting with social media giant Twitter.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) June 15, 2022
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas gave "apparently misleading" testimony to Congress about his disinformation board, Senate Republicans charged Tuesday in a letter demanding Democrats call Mr. Mayorkas back for another chance to explain… https://t.co/3ePGJelBJm
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) June 14, 2022
The Washington Times reported:
The Republicans said Mr. Mayorkas “misrepresented” the board’s purview, saying it wouldn’t be involved in monitoring Americans’ activities. But talking points prepared by former board executive director Nina Jankowicz “appear to show that the Department does in fact monitor American citizens and that the Board’s work is concentrated on domestic threats,” the senators said.
And Mr. Mayorkas, at the May hearing, dismissed the suggestion by Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, that the board might be interested in policing the debate over pandemic masking as part of its disinformation purview. But the new documents, revealed last week by Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Josh Hawley, did list “efficacy of masks as something the board was interested in.”
“The American public deserves transparency and honest answers to important questions about the true nature and purpose of the Disinformation Governance Board and it is clear that Secretary Mayorkas has not provided them — to the public or this committee,” wrote the senators, led by Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, the top Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The report added that the documents revealed by Senators Grassley and Hawley showed “Under Secretary for Policy Robert Silvers, one of the board’s co-chairs, had a meeting planned with Twitter to talk about an opportunity to discuss operationalizing public-private partnerships between DHS and Twitter.”
A whistleblower who provided the documents said Ms. Jankowicz may have been hired because of her relationship with executives at Twitter, according to Grassley and Hawley.