Department of Homeland Security’s new “Disinformation Governance Board.”
After the events of 9/11, President Bush and the US Congress worked together to create the Department of Homeland Security. The agency was designed to allow for agencies with disparate rules and restrictions to better coordinate activities to identify, assess and confront threats, including implementing policy directives from the national leadership.
The agency was also responsible for implementing and managing the Patriot Act; a law designed to give the government unprecedented surveillance authority, allowing authorities to track potential terrorists who may decide to plan and operate within our borders. Secret courts, aka FISA courts that were previously established for intelligence gathering, were expanded to give the FBI the ability to conduct spying operations as long as it served the purpose of assessing threats that might be within our borders. (Never mind the obvious southern border security problem the left created, just go with this.)
Originally, it was sold as a temporary measure until the government was able to mature systems and capabilities that would be effective without threat to US civil liberties, and that was the message given to voters: America was facing a new kind of war and the government needs tools to help identify and eliminate threats. Indeed, with the aide of the horrific images from New York and Washington DC, Americans broadly supported those efforts and believed that the law would keep the bad guys at bay until we could better deal with the threats.
In order to satisfy critics of the law, the Patriot Act was filled with sunset provisions so as to ensure the law would end as quickly as possible. Not only has the Congress reauthorized the act several times, but it has also expanded the reach of the legislation. Critics of the law were chided as being irrational, as government officials routinely stated the law had plenty of checks and guardrails to ensure it wouldn’t be abused.
In 2016, we learned just how far the government would go in using these powers that were supposed to protect us from foreign threats. Trump campaign manager Carter Page was the subject of several FISA warrants based solely on a dossier that was funded by the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign. We also learned that Clinton herself had known of Steele’s activities, approved of the efforts, and used the false document as part of her own campaign of disinformation to influence the 2016 election. Ironically, she ended up thwarting her own efforts while serving as the Secretary of State under President Obama – having her own email server and intentionally failed to follow regulations regarding classified information that resulted in an FBI investigation that was later dropped because Obama didn’t want Clinton to be prosecuted.
In the end, the Steele dossier was proven to be false, but not before exposing how officials were able to corrupt the system. Under Trump, Bill Barr made significant changes to DOJ policy to prevent abuses. Still, many of the Patriot Act structures remain vulnerable for corrupt officials in government. It is believed that the FBI used sections of the act to surveil and infiltrate a group in Michigan, who the FBI says, wanted to kidnap the state’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer. The FBI has also used that same power to subpoena social media posts of peaceful protestors during the rally against electoral certification on January 6th, 2021. The assault on citizen’s civil rights is a slap in the face of the Constitution. Oddly, many journalists don’t seem that overly concerned. In fact, most of them are cheering for convictions of everyone who protested.
In 2021, it was reported that for years, the FBI made hundreds of thousands of requests from Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft for information on users in their systems. Because of changes to the Patriot Act, public warrants are no longer needed, and the government can compel these companies to keep silent. Almost all requests were based on comments made on the social media platforms, most of which were critical of the government and most Democrat officials. And yet, the media has been cheering since the targets of these requests happen to be right-leaning citizens.
One of the great axioms of life is that when people gain power, they want more. The government is no different. While the left complained that Trump was using surveillance authority to track leakers within his administration, Obama was routinely targeting journalists and members of Congress, especially his opponents. Hillary Clinton may have gained the most from it in the run up to the 2016 election.
With these powers, it is only natural that the Biden administration’s Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, announces that his department is creating a “Disinformation Governance Board” with the intent of countering foreign disinformation campaigns that are targeting this country, such as Russia and China. Oddly, this happened shortly after Elon Musk’s efforts to acquire Twitter, the platform widely known to carry lakes of water for liberal causes, including liberal disinformation of science and biology.
The person appointed to chair this board is Nina Jankowicz; a researcher at the Wilson Center, Jankowicz is touted as a disinformation expert. No one knows disinformation better than the woman who believes the Steele dossier is a proven document, that Trump was compromised by Putin, and the Hunter Biden laptop was a product of Russian misinformation. Mayorkas has stated that the mission of this board is not to spy on Americans.
Let me see if I understand this: The Patriot Act was never meant to spy on American citizens, but it is routinely used to gather social media posts from users, spy on members of the a presidential campaign, allow the FBI to target angry constituents in Michigan and put them on trial for an alleged kidnapping plot, and incarcerate innocent people who protested peacefully in Washington DC. Now they want to add a “disinformation governance board” to their arsenal with the message, “American citizens will not be targeted.” This is the same Mayorkas who told us he’s managing the border well.
Yeah, no. Time for Americans to take back their government.