Biden’s pick to combat disinformation online has spread her fair share of false information in tweets about masks and former President Donald Trump – and has even expressed her support for the former British spy behind the Russian dossier.
On Wednesday, officials announced that Nina Jankowicz, 33, will head the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board as executive director.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas did not disclose any powers that would be granted to the dystopian-sounding board while addressing lawmakers on Wednesday.
He explained that the board would work to tackle disinformation ahead of the November midterms, particularly in Hispanic communities.
But Mayorkas did say that the new board would come under the Biden-era Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), meaning it would have no powers to crack down on disinformation and will instead try to combat it by throwing money at what it sees as problems.
Since then, though, observant conservatives have discovered that Jankowicz, a Wilson Center global fellow, previously published information that was later found to be false or misleading.
In one of her old tweets, Nina Jankowicz said she hopes the advertising technology industry would stop placing ads for masks – which at the time America’s top health experts were saying were not necessary
Jankowicz also tweeted in 2016 that she thought a Donald Trump presidency would embolden ISIS, as she expressed her support for then-candidate Hillary Clinton
And in August 2020, she praised Chris Steele, whose Russian dossier was later discredited
Jankowicz has been appointed by the Biden administration to head the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board as executive director
In one instance, back when the global pandemic was just beginning, Jankowicz quote tweeted a post from Rob Leathern, who worked on integrity products at Facebook and announced that the company was giving the World Health Organization and other health groups as many free ads as needed to tackle the worldwide COVID-19 response.
‘This is good,’ she wrote in March 2020. ‘Now [I] hope the rest of the adtech industry stops placing ads for masks and worse (straight up disinfo!) on articles and information about coronavirus.’
Jankowicz also wrote at the time that ‘our country might be too… um, free spirited? to comply with social distancing recommendations unless they’re forced upon us.
‘So force away! Lock us down. People are not taking this seriously,’ she wrote after apparently being within six feet of a high school-aged couple.
At the time, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other United States health leaders had advised Americans not to wear masks. They later changed that advice, with Fauci admitting that he was concerned there would not be enough Personal Protective Equipment for frontline health care workers, and others admitting they did not know at the time how contagious the virus was or how it spread.
But as America’s top doctors discovered more information about the virus, social distancing guidelines were reduced.
Jankowicz also claimed online ahead of the 2016 presidential election that a Donald Trump presidency would ’embolden ISIS,’ when in reality, the Islamic State collapsed under the Trump administration, which also carried out the successful operation to kill head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In March 2020, she suggested that the country is too ‘free-spirited to comply with social distancing recommendations’ as she advocated for lockdowns after apparently being near two high schoolers on a date
She doubled down on the idea of Trump’s close ties to Russia in a February tweet, suggesting that the country’s invasion of Ukraine would have been worse under the former president
She has also said in February that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ‘would have been so much worse under the former president,’ apparently reiterating his alleged ties to the country.
And in an August 2020 tweet, Jankowicz apparently hyped up former British spy Chris Steele as he spoke about disinformation. She wrote at the time that she listened to a podcast featuring Steele, saying he ‘provides some great historical context about the evolution of disinfo.
‘Worth a listen,’ she tweeted.
But Steele’s infamous dossier about Trump allegedly colluding with Russia prior to the 2016 presidential election has since been discredited, with his alleged main source, Igor Danchenko charged with five counts of ‘making false statements to the FBI.’
Still, Jankowicz has not yet apologized for any of these tweets, and they remain available for anyone to see on her Twitter page.
Videos posted online show Jankowicz asking Santa to make her rich and famous
Another video features her, at left, singing about starting a new career advocating for human rights as she compares herself to Elizabeth Warren
The head of the Biden administration’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ Nina Jankowicz sings about ‘misinformation’ to the tune of Mary Poppins song ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’
Jankowicz has also found herself under fire for some of her controversial videos, including one from December 2015 in which she says: ‘I don’t want to work, struggle or compromise.’
In the video, she asks Santa, ‘if you’re listening please tell me what to do. Who do I f*** to be famous,’ adding: ‘I’ve done everything I could and now the rest is up to you.’
Another YouTube video from January 2018 features her singing about how she has started a new job advocating for human rights.
‘When people tried to silence me, I stood my ground and I persisted,’ Jankowicz sang with her group, the Moaning Myrtles, a nod to the ghost from the Harry Potter series.
‘Because we need equality and nevertheless, I persisted,’ she sang, an apparent reference to then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell trying to prevent Sen. Elizabeth Warren from continuing her speech against naming Jeff Sessions to US Attorney General.
‘Wha-oh, wha-oh, I’ve got a reputation, wha-oh, wha-oh yeah it’s cause for celebration,’ Jankowicz sings.
‘So I’m standing up for the next generation,’ she continues, before singing: ‘You can call me Myrtle Elizabeth Warren.’
Other videos from the group she co-founded in 2005 included Harry Potter erotica songs, in which she sang about killing the titular character so they can have sex as ghosts, as well as other Harry Potter-inspired songs about life at Hogwarts.
More recently, she posted a TikTok video in March 2020, claiming people are not taking COVID restrictions seriously, as she suggested that lock downs are necessary.
‘Lock us down. People are not taking this (COVID) seriously,’ she said in the video.
‘Information laundering is really quite ferocious. It’s when a huckster takes some lies and makes them sound precocious,’ she sings in the video to the tune of ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.’
‘By saying them in Congress or a mainstream outlet, so disinformation’s origins are slightly less atrocious.
‘It’s how you hide a little, hide a little, little, little lie, it’s how you hide a little, little lie, it’s how you hide a little, little, little lie.
‘When Rudy Giuliani shared bad intel from Ukraine. Or when TikTok influencers say Covid can’t cause pain. They’re laundering disinfo and we really should take note. And not support their lies with our wallet, voice or vote – oh!’
When she was younger, Jankowicz, left, co-created a Harry Potter-themed band named The Moaning Myrtles
She has also seemingly defended her tweets casting doubts on stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop, which have since been confirmed by outlets like the Washington Post.
In October 2020, Jankowicz called the laptop stories a ‘Trump campaign product’ in an interview with the New York Daily News.
She also tweeted at the time that news outlets were ‘back on the “laptop from hell,” apparently
‘Biden notes 50 former natsec officials and 5 former CIA heads that believe the laptop is a Russian influence op,’ she wrote, adding: Trump says “Russia, Russia, Russia.”‘
Jankowicz now claims that the tweet was part of her ‘live tweeting’ a debate between Trump and Biden just one month before the presidential general election, as Republicans use it to claim she is hyperpartisan.
‘For those who believe this tweet is a key to all my views, it is simply a direct quote from both candidates during the final presidential debate,’ Jankowicz defended in a repost of the original tweet.
‘If you look at my timeline, you will see I was livetweeting that evening,’ she added in the Wednesday night tweet.
But Jankowicz has also suggested that she opposes free speech because she thinks it is bad for ‘marginalized communities,’ as she called Elon Musk a ‘free speech absolutist’ because he wants to make Twitter more open to all voices.
Musk, who is now the owner of the platform, has said that his aim is to make it a more open ‘digital town square.’
‘Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,’ Musk wrote in a statement upon the purchase approval.
In an interview with NPR prior to her appointment as disinformation czar, Jankowicz expressed her concerns about that, saying: ‘I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities.’
She said these groups are ‘already shouldering…disproportionate amounts of this abuse’ and said free speech and lack of censoring on social media would make it worse.
Musk has now called the creation of Biden’s new ‘disinformation’ board ‘discomforting.’
He was responding to a tweet from conservative political commentator, comedian and media personality Steven Crowder.
‘The government is creating a misinformation governance board,’ Crowder tweeted on Thursday.
‘Who else did something like that?’ he continued. ‘Oh I remember, the Nazi’s. And there’s some data showing some interesting things going on post- @elonmusk’s Twitter takeover!’
Several other conservatives have also spoken out against the new disinformation board, with Republican Senator Josh Hawley demanding that the White House ‘dissolve’ it, claiming that it would only ‘monitor Americans’ free speech’.
‘I write with deep concern about the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to create a new Disinformation Governance Board,’ he penned in a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
‘I confess I at first thought this announcement was satire,’ he continued. ‘Surely no American Administration would ever use the power of Government to sit in judgment on the First Amendment speech of its own citizens.’
‘Sadly, I was mistaken.’
He then demanded that DHS provide more information on this new board, including how it will function and be monitored.
Hawley also questioned why the announcement was made just following billionaire Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter.
Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson also put out a statement against the formation of the board, writing: ‘The Biden Administration has not proven itself to be a credible arbiter of ‘disinformation.’ Instead, it has taken steps to silence information that is unflattering to this Administration under the guise of ‘disinformation.
‘For example, unnamed intelligence officials, the media, and social media platforms engaged in a coordinated effort to censor stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop and his questionable financial dealings under the false label of ‘disinformation.’
‘I am concerned DHS’s Disinformation Board will only serve to silence or censor those voices critical of your disastrous policies and serve a political cover for your failure to secure the border,’ the senator concluded.
And on Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also joined in the chorus of those criticizing the Biden administration’s new Disinformation Governance Board on Friday.
‘You cannot have a Ministry of Truth in this country. We’re not going to let Biden get away with this one. So we will be fighting back,’ the Republican said at a news conference, in a reference to the agency from ‘1984.’
‘When you’re not doing well, you have two options: You can try to do better. Or you can try to silence your critics. [The Biden Administration] is doing the latter,’ he added.
Senator Josh Hawley pointed out that Jankowicz told NPR last week that she ‘shudders to think about’ more free speech on social media platforms after Elon Musk made a bid for Twitter
Trump-ally and GOP Senator Josh Hawley is demanding that the ‘monstrosity’ of a board be ‘dissolved’ before it even gets started
He said that he thought the board was ‘satire’ because there was no way an ‘American Administration would ever use the power of Government to sit in judgement on the First Amendment speech of its own citizens’
He questioned the timing of the announcement of the board coming just after billionaire Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter
Still, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has defended Jankowicz’s appointment, noting she is ‘an expert on online disinformation.’
‘Any hiring decisions are up to the Department of Homeland Security, but this is a person with extensive qualifications,’ she noted.
Jankowicz, who has researched Russian misinformation tactics and online harassment, is author of the book ‘How To Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict.’ She has also advised the Ukrainian government on strategic communications, according to the Wilson Center think-tank, where she served as a global fellow.
Psaki also pointed out repeatedly in her press briefing that the board was created in the Trump administration.
‘This is a continuation of work that began at the Department of Homeland Security in 2020 under former President Trump,’ she said.
‘So for anyone who is critical of it, I didn’t hear them being critical of the work under the former president, which is just interesting to note contextually,’ she added.
She said of the work the board will do includes understanding how misinformation spread by human smugglers helps prey on vulnerable populations trying to enter the United States.
‘This is also work that is helping to address unauthorized terrorism, other threats and see how disinformation and misinformation is being pushed to lead to increase those,’ she said.