Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) pressed Mayorkas on who hired Jankowicz and whether the secretary knew about her comments about the laptop that became the basis of a series of blockbuster exposes by The Post in October 2020. “When the department picked her did it know that she had said that Mr. Hunter Biden’s laptop is Russian disinformation?” Kennedy quizzed him. “I was not aware of that, but we do not discuss the internal hiring process. Ultimately, as the secretary I am responsible for the decisions of the Department of Homeland Security,” Mayorkas replied.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas insisted on Wednesday that he was unaware that the person his department chose to lead its Orwellian “Disinformation Governance Board” had previously referred to Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation. Mayorkas was grilled in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee about the DHS’s hiring of Nina Jankowicz as “disinformation czar” and the board she will lead, which has been dubbed the “ministry of truth” by critics.
“Three, as the secretary of homeland security I am responsible for the decisions of the department, and it is my understanding that Ms. Jankowicz is a subject-matter expert in the field in which she will be working on behalf of the department,” he continued. Mayorkas also claimed he was ignorant of cringe-worthy TikTok videos Jankowicz made in which she sang a rendition of the Mary Poppins’ tune “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” about fake news.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, speaks during a Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas claimed not to know of Jankowicz’s defense regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop. Some unsettling photos were found on what’s believed to be Hunter Biden’s laptop. Kennedy then asked if Mayorkas knew that Jankowicz vouched for the veracity of the Steele dossier, which has since been discredited. “Senator, let me repeat myself and add an additional fact. One, we do not discuss internal hiring processes. Two, I was not aware of that fact,” Mayorkas tried to explain.
“Senator, again, let me be clear that the department’s responsibility is to address disinformation that threatens the security of the homeland. And, importantly, the working group was established because this disinformation work has been ongoing for nearly 10 years,” Mayorkas answered. “The working group was established precisely to protect against the infringement on individual’s First Amendment rights precisely to protect their right of privacy,” the secretary said.
“Information laundering is really quite ferocious. It’s when a huckster takes some lies and makes them sound precocious, by saying them in Congress or a mainstream outlet, so disinformation’s origins are slightly less atrocious,” Jankowicz sang in the February 2021 video. Continuing his line of questioning about the board, Kennedy raised the example of former President Bill Clinton denying he had sex with White House intern Monica Lewinski and asked Mayorkas if that was something Jankowicz’s board would investigate.
As his round of questioning concluded, Kennedy suggested a task for Mayorkas when he returned to DHS, saying he should confront the person who recommended hiring Jankowicz and “I would fire him on the spot.” There is little credible information about the new Disinformation Governance Board. With disinformation campaigns working to shape opinions on everything from the war in Ukraine to presidential elections, the rocky start for the board may undermine its effectiveness and hurt the efforts to staunch the harm that false narratives can cause.