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Vague Directives and Vague Answers: Testimony Highlights More Disinformation Board’s Flaws

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The US House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the disgraced and disbanded Disinformation Governance Board (a part of the Department of Homeland Security, DHS), has decided to release a redacted transcript of a deposition given last April by the Board’s director, Nina Jankowicz.

We obtained a copy of the transcript for you here.

The deposition was supposed to shed light on how the DHS was handling the avalanche of negative reactions to the board, envisaged as a key component in the current White House’s “anti-disinformation” frenzy, but which quickly got overwhelmed by criticism of being openly biased.

One of the DHS tactics, according to Jankowicz, was to avoid transparency even where it concerned on-the-record information about the board.

“The guidance from up above was that we were to be as vague as possible, which I found very frustrating,” Jankowicz said.

While this may look like an attempt by Jankowicz to protect herself, in terms of her own decisions and actions, it tracks: the censorship playbook that is used far more widely, from government entities to Big Tech, has always relied on different ways to obfuscate.

As for this particular “guidance,” Jankowicz pointed the finger at her colleague Jen Daskal as basically the messenger – while the message, she said, was likely coming from elsewhere in the organization.

Jankowicz also complained to the Committee about being “thrown under the bus” by the DHS, once the agency realized the magnitude of opposition to the board’s activities.

Perhaps the opposition wouldn’t have been so intense if the DHS showed less hubris and picked a less divisive person to lead the Board  in the first place – Jankowicz was a well-known Biden supporter and campaign policy advisor (and, some would say, a Biden apologist) before she became the head of the Board, shortly after “getting thrown under the bus.”

However, appearing before the Committee, Jankowicz saw no relevance to her social media posts that revealed her ideological bias, including a jarring example of her trying to prop up the discredited “dossier author” Christopher Steele, and also join voices seeking to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Jankowicz told the Judiciary Committee that she was advised by her attorney not to answer questions that were “not pertinent.”

But, it also revealed how even something with a powerful agency like the DHS behind it can collapse like a house of cards.

“We did not provide enough information at the outset. We left a vacuum for people to speculate. And indeed, within hours of the board being announced, the phrase ‘ministry of truth’ – which, again, the board had nothing to do with being a ministry of truth – was trending on social media,” Jankowicz stated.

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