Who is Nina Jankowicz? Biden's Disinformation Board roasted as 'ministry of truth'

The Department of Homeland Security's Disinformation Governance Board will reportedly have Jankowicz as its executive director


                            Who is Nina Jankowicz? Biden's Disinformation Board roasted as 'ministry of truth'
A Russian disinformation expert, Nina Jankowicz studies the intersection of democracy and technology (@wiczipedia/Twitter and Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden has set up a 'disinformation' board headed by Nina Jankowicz, who previously served as a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center. The Department of Homeland Security's Disinformation Governance Board will reportedly have Jankowicz as its executive director.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas did not open up about any powers that will be given to the board, but only said that it will deal with disinformation ahead of the November midterms. Disinformation will be tackled by the board particularly in Hispanic communities. 

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Mayorkas confirmed that the board would come under the Biden-era Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3). What this means is that the board will attempt to combat disinformation using money where it is needed, but will not have powers to crack down on disinformation. The CP3 program will particularly focus on tackling misinformation targeting Spanish-speaking voters. 

Communities are given resources and tools by the (CP3) program so that it has the means to prevent individuals from radicalizing to violence. CP3 awarded about $20 million in grants through its Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program in 2021, but how much money will be spent on the new board is unclear. 

Who is Nina Jankowicz?

A Russian disinformation expert, Nina Jankowicz reportedly studies the intersection of democracy and technology in Central and Eastern Europe. She is the author of 'How To Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict', and is known for having advised the auspices of a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship. 

Jankowicz's works have been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, among others. A frequent television and radio commentator on disinformation and Russian and Eastern European affairs, Jankowicz managed democracy assistance programs to Russia and Belarus at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. She earned her BA degree from Bryn Mawr College, and received her MA in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.

Jankowicz recently  tweeted, "Cat's out of the bag: here's what I've been up to the past two months, and why I've been a bit quiet on here. Honored to be serving in the Biden Administration @DHSgov and helping shape our counter-disinformation efforts." Jankowicz had previously called the laptop of President Joe Biden's son Hunter a 'Trump campaign product'.



 

Last week, Jankowicz said she opposes the The First Amendment for apparently being bad for 'marginalized communities'. She also called Elon Musk a 'free speech absolutist'. 

"Here's my official portrait to grab your attention. Now that I've got it: a HUGE focus of our work, and indeed, one of the key reasons the Board was established, is to maintain the Dept's committment to protecting free speech, privacy, civil rights, & civil liberties," Jankowicz tweeted. "More to come as we dig into the big job ahead. For now, thanks for the support."



 



 

The dystopian-sounding board has been roasted as the 'ministry of truth'. National Security Expert Brigitte Gabriel wrote on Twitter, "Joe Biden is creating his own Ministry of Truth. Stop calling him President, he's a Tyrant." Political commentator and activist Candace Owend said, "A literal, actual Ministry of Truth. We are now deep in the throes of a Harry Potter novel."



 



 

One user wrote, "When I get to the Senate I’ll defund the Biden Administration’s Ministry of Truth. This is downright scary." Another said, "It's only been a couple days since Elon purchased Twitter and the government has already formed a Ministry of Truth."



 



 

The 'Ministry of Truth' is a reference to George Orwell's '1984', a dystopian novel that depicts a society under constant surveillance under an authoritarian regime. In the novel, the name Ministry of Truth means the exact opposite of what it says -- a place where lies are manufactured. Winston Smith, the protagonist, works here, rewriting old news articles to reflect the Party's latest version of reality and throwing the old articles down a "memory hole" where they are incinerated. The Ministry of Truth reflects the Party's belief that power is the only truth and that those with power can alter the "truth" into whatever they choose.