‘Unacceptable’: Sen. Hawley Blasts Mayorkas for DHS 'Speech-Suppression'

November 14th, 2022 5:31 PM

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) allegedly dead Disinformation Governance Board is apparently still breathing. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is now asking DHS to address ongoing “disinformation” operations that have continued since the board was officially terminated this summer. 

Hawley blasted Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a letter Monday accusing the secretary of misleading the American people about the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB). Senator Hawley denounced Mayorkas after a bombshell report by The Intercept revealed that the DHS continued to fight so-called “disinformation” even after it said it paused the infamous DGB.

“[Y]ou are yet again hiding information about your efforts to suppress speech you dislike—in flagrant disregard of congressional oversight requests and federal law, Hawley wrote. “This is unacceptable.  “You must immediately disclose, publicly, all your efforts to suppress speech.”

The letter comes just two weeks after The Intercept released leaked Facebook documents with instructions on how government workers and law enforcement officers can log into a “Facebook Content Request System.”

In the letter, Hawley explained the DHS-Facebook alliance described by The Intercept.

“‘Facebook created a special portal” for DHS to streamline directives from your Department to suppress speech,” he wrote. 

“While you were publicly announcing that you had disbanded the Disinformation Governance Board, your Department was still ‘having biweekly meetings’ behind closed doors with Facebook to suppress speech,” Hawley added.

The senator also referenced Mayorkas’s May testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee where the secretary claimed that although he wasn’t aware of any documents he would provide all documents pertaining to the DGB. 

“When you last appeared before the Senate, you testified under oath in response to my questioning that you ‘owe openness and transparency’ to the Senate and that, absent a legal prohibition, you would ‘produce the documents’ related to your speech-suppression efforts,” Hawley wrote. “Yet despite my repeated requests for information in letters dated April 28, May 23, July 7, and July 13, you still have not come clean about the full extent of your Department’s operations.”

This is not the first time Hawley has criticized Mayorkas for contradicting his May 4 testimony regarding DGB documents. The senator excoriated Mayorkas in June when he obtained documents from an alleged whistleblower. “[T]his Disinformation Board, from the beginning, was meant to track and go after political speech that this administration did not favor,” Hawley said at the time. “There is a charter, a proposed charter – that the secretary himself signed, personally – on February 24, 2022.”

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