Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday said he was not aware that the woman picked to lead the department’s Disinformation Governance Board had publicly taken stands later proved utterly wrong.
Mayorkas announced last week that the board would be headed by Nina Jankowicz, who in 2020 suggested that reports about Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop were Russian disinformation. The laptop’s contents have since been authenticated.
During a Wednesday hearing, Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana tried to learn what the Department of Homeland Security knew when it put Jankowicz in charge of the new disinformation board.
“I am in awe of Ms. Jankowicz. I have watched her with slack-jawed astonishment,” Kennedy said. “Who picked her?”
Mayorkas replied that “the Department of Homeland Security selected Ms. Jankowicz.”
“Who at the department picked her?” Kennedy asked.
“Senator, we don’t discuss our internal hiring processes,” Mayorkas replied. “I am the secretary of homeland security and ultimately I am responsible.”
.@SenJohnKennedy takes DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas to task on the selection of “Ministry of Truth” Director Nina Jankowicz.
“Did [DHS] know that she had said that Mr. Hunter Biden’s laptop is Russian disinformation…that she had vouched for the veracity of the Steele dossier?” pic.twitter.com/KqOIm00vYR
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 4, 2022
“When the department picked her, did it know that she had said that Mr. Hunter Biden’s laptop is Russian disinformation?” Kennedy asked.
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“I was not aware of that. 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 responded.
“When the department picked Ms. Jankowicz, did it know that she had vouched for the veracity of the Steele dossier?” Kennedy asked.
“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 said.
“Three, as the secretary of homeland security I am responsible for the decisions of the department and four, 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.”
“I can tell,” Kennedy said in reply.
Attention Comrades! Meet your new Disinformation Czar. Nina Jankowicz will protect you from free expression and the fanatics who support it. pic.twitter.com/dIcBJOvijw
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) April 28, 2022
Mayorkas called the board a “working group” and said it would be mostly concerned with ensuring DHS respects free speech rights, according to The Washington Times.
“The working group does not have operational capacity and authority. It is to make sure there are policies in place, standards in place, to protect the very rights about which you inquired,” he told Kennedy.
Mayorkas received a bit of unsolicited advice from the GOP senator, who said Mayorkas should find the person who did hire Jankowicz, the New York Post reported.
And then, Kennedy suggested, “I would fire him on the spot.”