Rand Paul lambasted Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during a Wednesday hearing by claiming he doesn’t want the Biden Cabinet member anywhere near making decisions involving speech.
‘We can’t even agree what disinformation is,’ the Kentucky Republican said to the DHS secretary.
‘What this working group does is ensure that there are guardrails, definitions, standards to make sure that free speech rights, civil rights, civil liberties and privacy rights of individuals are not impeded,’ Mayorkas explained of the newly formed DHS Disinformation Governance Board.
‘I don’t want guardrails. I want you to have nothing to do with speech,’ the senator tore into Mayorkas. ‘You think we can’t determine, you know, speech by traffickers is disinformation.’
‘Do you think the American people are so stupid they need you to tell them what the truth is?’ Paul questioned. ‘You can’t even admit what the truth is with the Steele Dossier. I don’t trust government to figure out what the truth is. Government is largely disseminating disinformation.’
Paul accused the U.S. government of being the ‘largest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world.’
He then listed different debated topics in the U.S.: ‘Are you familiar with McNamara? The Pentagon Papers? Are you familiar with George W. Bush and the weapons of mass destruction? Are you familiar with Iran-contra?’
‘I mean, think of all the debates and disputes we’ve had over the last 50 years in our country,’ Paul continued. ‘We worked them out by debating them. We don’t work them out by the government being the arbiter.’
He said: ‘I think you’ve got no idea what disinformation is.’
In listing out reasons why he doesn’t trust Mayorkas to make decisions about misinformation or speech online, Paul pointed to the stifling of information about COVID-19 online that did not fall in line with the Biden administration’s policies.
Republican Senator Rand Paul grilled DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on his agency’s new Disinformation Governance Board, claiming Americans don’t need to be told what is true. ‘I don’t want guardrails. I want you to have nothing to do with speech,’ he said to the DHS head
‘I’ve said a million times that cloth masks don’t work. YouTube takes me down. They’re a private company I can have that beef with him. What about you? You’re going to look at that? I often say that natural immunity from having had the infection is equal to the vaccine or better. You’re going to take that down?’ he questioned.
‘Are you going to put information out there saying that I’m spreading disinformation?’ Paul asked.
Mayorkas refused to give a straight answer, claiming the board is not composed of ‘public health experts.’
‘So public health won’t be part of the Disinformation Governance Board? No COVID disinformation? Yes or no?’ Paul pressed.
The DHS head accused Paul of giving him vague hypotheticals and said they would aim to address information that poses a national security threat to the U.S.
Paul disagreed with the concept that Americans need the government to cut in and tell them what to believe or not.
‘I have a greater respect for the American people than you do,’ Paul said. ‘I think the American people can figure out the truth.’
The senator added: ‘And if you think the American people need to be told there’s not fentanyl in the vaccination, feel free to say it. But the thing is, is if you are going to go around saying that you’re the arbiter of information and of disinformation, I think you have no clue. And you don’t have the perspective of history knowing that disinformation, the largest progenitor of disinformation in our history, has probably been the U.S. government.’
Biden’s new ‘disinformation czar’ dismissed concerns about Critical Race Theory in schools as ‘disinformation for profit’ – despite parents across the country being worried about the teaching of the philosophy in their children’s classrooms.
Nina Jankowicz, a disinformation expert who has worked throughout Eastern Europe, was hired on April 27 to lead a Homeland Security Department working group designed to help its different agencies in dealing with disinformation on topics ranging from migration to plots from Russia and Iran.
But her appointment has angered Republicans.
The Republican National Committee dubbed the committee she heads ‘Ministry of Truth’ in a nod to George Orwell’s novel ‘1984,’ and raised fears that the group will deem as disinformation ‘any speech we don’t like.’
Other critics have seized upon her past comments – noting that she described Hunter Biden’s laptop as ‘the laptop from hell’ and echoed the opinion of national security experts at the time that the laptop was part of a Russian influence operation.
It has since been confirmed by multiple news organizations, including DailyMail.com, as authentic.
On Wednesday, a clip from a November 2021 address to The City Club of Cleveland was circulated online, which showed Jankowicz downplaying concerns about CRT.
Nina Jankowicz is pictured in November 2021, giving a lecture and taking questions at The City Club of Cleveland. She was asked about CRT, and said it was a ‘weaponization of emotions’
Opponents of the academic doctrine known as Critical Race Theory protest outside of the Loudoun County School Board headquarters, in Ashburn, Virginia, in June 2021
Protesters and their children are seen outside the Loudoun County government center in Leesburg, Virginia, on June 12, 2021
One man in the audience said that Republicans were using Critical Race Theory to divide people, and asked her: ‘How do you get people to understand and go beyond the headlines?’
Critical race theory, or CRT, is a legal framework taught primarily in law schools which claims that racism is embedded in American political and social institutions.
Conservatives have taken to using the phrase as a way to describe lessons on racism and ‘equity’ across all grade levels – and have criticized the theory for claiming that the U.S. is built on racial animus, with skin color determining the social, economic and political differences between people.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The fight over critical race theory in schools has escalated in the United States over the last year.
The theory has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country since the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, and the introduction of The 1619 Project.
The 1619 Project, which was published by the New York Times in 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on American shores, reframes American history by ‘placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the US narrative’.
The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.
Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.
Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influence American politics, culture and the law.
Advocates, however, say its’ teaching is necessary to underline how deeply racism pervades society. Critics say it is divisive and paints everyone as a victim or oppressor.
Loudoun Superintendent Scott Ziegler maintains that CRT is not being taught to students, and that parents and other activists are seizing upon the district’s equity training for staff and claiming it is being taught in classrooms.
Jankowicz, for her part, said at City Club of Cleveland event: ‘You’re absolutely right that Critical Race Theory has become one of those hot-button issues that the Republicans and other disinformers, who are engaged in disinformation for profit, frankly – there are plenty of media outlets that are making money off this too – have seized on.
‘And I live in Virginia, and in Loudoun County that’s one of the areas where people have really honed in on this topic.
‘But it’s no different than any of the other hot-button issues that have allowed disinformation to flourish.
‘It’s weaponizing people’s emotion.’
She recommended that the audience be aware of reading articles that made you feel emotional and passionate, and said she supported public media, because they are able to give time and space for debate.
Members of the Loudoun County School Board are facing the prospect of being forced from office in November – a year early – after Virginia’s new GOP governor, Glenn Youngkin, ordered them to seek re-election.
‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, elections for all nine districts of the Loudoun County School Board shall be held on November 5, 2022,’ the amendment to HB 1138 reads.
The board is made up of nine members, including Jeff Morse, chair of the Dulles District; Ian Serotkin, Vice-Chair of Blue Ridge District; at-large member Denise Corbo; Atoosa Reaser of the Algonkian District; Harris Mahedavi, of the Ashburn District; Andrew Hoyler of the Broad Run District; John Beatty of the Catoctin District; and Tom Marshall of the Leesburg District.
The Loudoun School Board has been mired in controversy – beyond CRT.
Last year they were in the headlines for covering up a sexual assault on school grounds, which led to an additional assault of a young girl – whose father infamously attended a school board meeting and had to be forcibly removed.
They have continued to court controversy, with the board’s approval of a $6 million ‘equity-training’ program last April, as well as the September approval of a study into whether it would be appropriate to give reparations to black people.
Loudoun County School Board members (pictured) will be up for election this coming November instead of 2023 following an amendment by Governor Younkin
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (pictured) made an amendment to a bill that moved up the elections of the Loudoun County School Board to November 2022
Shelley Slebrch and other angry parents and community members protest after a Loudoun County School Board meeting was halted by the school board because the crowd refused to quiet down last June
Jankowicz has been appointed by the Biden administration to head the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board as executive director
Younkin said the amendment was a chance to ‘reflect the will of parents’ sooner.
‘The last few years just absolutely signified some real challenges with the Loudoun County School Board,’ Younkin told 7NewsDC.
‘And so in the spirit of transparency and accountability, my amendment gives parents the ability to elect their school board.’
But the move came as a surprise to school board members.
Jankowicz, meanwhile – a Wilson Center global fellow – previously published information that was later found to be false or misleading, and a tweet Jankowicz sent in October 2020 has resurfaced and is making the rounds in conservative circles.
‘Back on the ‘laptop from hell,’ apparently – Biden notes 50 former natsec officials and 5 former CIA heads that believe the laptop is a Russian influence op,’ she tweeted at the time.
She added: ‘Trump says ‘Russia, Russia, Russia.’
She now says that the tweet was part of her ‘live tweeting’ a debate between Trump and Biden, just one month before the presidential general election.
Republicans, however, are using the post to pounce on her political leanings.
‘For those who believe this tweet is a key to all my views, it is simply a direct quote from both candidates during the final presidential debate,’ Jankowicz said, defending the original tweet.
‘If you look at my timeline, you will see I was livetweeting that evening,’ she added.
Nina Jankowicz defended her previous casting of doubt on the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, claiming that a tweet she sent in October 2020 was a livetweet of a debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump
Woke Nina Jankowicz is now head of Biden’s dystopian ‘disinformation board’
Nina Jankowicz had already made a name for herself before being appointed head of Biden’s Russian disinformation unit.
Jankowicz, 33, is a successful author who is currently eight months pregnant with her first child. She grew up in New Jersey and is dating Michael Stein.
The couple are happily shacked up in a $1 million, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom property they own in Arlington, Virginia.
Jankowicz, attended Bryn Mawr College and Georgetown University, before embarking on a glittering career in foreign relations.
She managed programs to Russia and Belarus at the National Democratic Institute.
Jankowicz also advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on disinformation and strategic communications
She serves on the Board of Trustees for the Eurasia Foundation and is a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center
But the author is best known as a prominent woke voice online.
The Biden appointee’s latest book, How To Be A Woman Online has just been released, and deals with the topics of internet bullying and trolling.
She has complained about hordes of men tracking down her private Facebook and Instagram accounts after she appears on TV to try to follow her and find out more about her life.
Jankowicz says she prefers strangers to follow her Twitter account, and speculates that many of those who criticize her online are jealous of her ‘verified’ blue check mark and media career.
She has identified five different types of trolls who target her most, including ‘reply guy’ types who insist on trying to meddle in all aspects of her life, including in how brown she toasts her bread.
Despite claiming to be a free speech campaigner online, Jankowicz has spoken out against the First Amendment.
Aligning herself with many online progressives who’ve begun to call for an end to unqualified free speech, Jankowicz recently tweeted: ‘I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities…which are already shouldering…disproportionate amounts of this abuse.’
She also said the prospect of Elon Musk taking over Twitter made her ‘shudder.’
But Jankowicz – who has a pet dog and a cat – has not joined thousands of other liberals who’ve vowed to quit the platform as a result of Musk’s purchase.
In one instance, back when the global pandemic was just beginning, Jankowicz quote tweeted a post from Rob Leathern, who worked on integrity products at Facebook.
He announced that the company was giving the World Health Organization and other health groups as many free ads as needed to tackle the worldwide COVID-19 response.
‘This is good,’ she wrote in March 2020.
‘Now [I] hope the rest of the adtech industry stops placing ads for masks and worse (straight up disinfo!) on articles and information about coronavirus.’
Jankowicz also wrote at the time that ‘our country might be too… um, free spirited? to comply with social distancing recommendations unless they’re forced upon us.
‘So force away! Lock us down. People are not taking this seriously,’ she wrote after apparently being within six feet of a high school-aged couple.
At the time, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other United States health leaders had advised Americans not to wear masks.
They later changed that advice, with Fauci admitting that he was concerned there would not be enough Personal Protective Equipment for frontline health care workers, and others admitting they did not know at the time how contagious the virus was or how it spread.
But as America’s top doctors discovered more information about the virus, social distancing guidelines were reduced.
Jankowicz also claimed online ahead of the 2016 presidential election that a Donald Trump presidency would ’embolden ISIS’.
In reality, the Islamic State collapsed under the Trump administration, which also carried out the successful operation to kill head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
She further said in February that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ‘would have been so much worse under the former president.’
And in an August 2020 tweet, Jankowicz apparently hyped up former British spy Chris Steele as he spoke about disinformation.
She wrote at the time that she listened to a podcast featuring Steele, saying he ‘provides some great historical context about the evolution of disinfo.
‘Worth a listen,’ she tweeted.
But Steele’s infamous dossier about Trump allegedly colluding with Russia prior to the 2016 presidential election has since been discredited, with his alleged main source, Igor Danchenko charged with five counts of ‘making false statements to the FBI.’
Jankowicz has not yet apologized for any of these tweets.
They remain available for anyone to see on her Twitter page.
Jankowicz has also found herself under fire for some of her controversial videos, including one from December 2015 in which she says: ‘I don’t want to work, struggle or compromise.’
In the video, she asks Santa, ‘if you’re listening please tell me what to do.
‘Who do I f*** to be famous,’ adding: ‘I’ve done everything I could and now the rest is up to you.’
Another YouTube video from January 2018 features her singing about how she has started a new job advocating for human rights.
In one of her old tweets, Nina Jankowicz said she hopes the advertising technology industry would stop placing ads for masks – which at the time America’s top health experts were saying were not necessary
Jankowicz also tweeted in 2016 that she thought a Donald Trump presidency would embolden ISIS, as she expressed her support for then-candidate Hillary Clinton
And in August 2020, she praised Chris Steele, whose Russian dossier was later discredited
In March 2020, she suggested that the country is too ‘free-spirited to comply with social distancing recommendations’ as she advocated for lockdowns after apparently being near two high schoolers on a date
She doubled down on the idea of Trump’s close ties to Russia in a February tweet, suggesting that the country’s invasion of Ukraine would have been worse under the former president
Videos posted online show Jankowicz asking Santa to make her rich and famous
Another video features her, at left, singing about starting a new career advocating for human rights as she compares herself to Elizabeth Warren
The head of the Biden administration’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ Nina Jankowicz sings about ‘misinformation’ to the tune of Mary Poppins song ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’
‘When people tried to silence me, I stood my ground and I persisted,’ Jankowicz sang with her group, the Moaning Myrtles, a nod to the ghost from the Harry Potter series.
‘Because we need equality and nevertheless, I persisted,’ she sang, an apparent reference to then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell trying to prevent Sen. Elizabeth Warren from continuing her speech against naming Jeff Sessions to US Attorney General.
‘Wha-oh, wha-oh, I’ve got a reputation, wha-oh, wha-oh yeah it’s cause for celebration,’ Jankowicz sings.
‘So I’m standing up for the next generation,’ she continues, before singing: ‘You can call me Myrtle Elizabeth Warren.’
When she was younger, Jankowicz, left, co-created a Harry Potter-themed band named The Moaning Myrtles
Other videos from the group she co-founded in 2005 included Harry Potter erotica songs, in which she sang about killing the titular character so they can have sex as ghosts, as well as other Harry Potter-inspired songs about life at Hogwarts.
More recently, she posted a TikTok video in March 2020, claiming people are not taking COVID restrictions seriously, as she suggested that lock downs are necessary.
‘Lock us down. People are not taking this (COVID) seriously,’ she said in the video.
‘Information laundering is really quite ferocious. It’s when a huckster takes some lies and makes them sound precocious,’ she sings in the video to the tune of ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.’
‘By saying them in Congress or a mainstream outlet, so disinformation’s origins are slightly less atrocious.
‘It’s how you hide a little, hide a little, little, little lie, it’s how you hide a little, little lie, it’s how you hide a little, little, little lie.
‘When Rudy Giuliani shared bad intel from Ukraine. Or when TikTok influencers say Covid can’t cause pain. They’re laundering disinfo and we really should take note. And not support their lies with our wallet, voice or vote – oh!’