Attorney General John O’Connor is joining a coalition of state attorneys general submitting a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas opposing the Biden Administration’s attack on the First Amendment. The creation of a “Disinformation Governance Board” violates the constitutional freedoms that state attorneys general are responsible for defending, O’Connor alleges.
The board, however, according to its official charter, is an advisory board for the Department of Homeland Security. “Its function is to protect national security by disseminating guidance to DHS agencies on combating foreign misinformation and disinformation. Specific problem areas mentioned include false information propagated by human smugglers encouraging migrants to surge to the Mexico–United States border, as well as Russian-state disinformation on election interference and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
The board does not have any jurisdiction and doesn’t monitor America-based disinformation, only foreign-based, and then it will form a list of best practices to suggest to DHS.
“President Biden is deliberately suppressing Americans’ First Amendment rights,” O’Connor incorrectly stated. “Every Oklahoman and American has the right to express their opinion and beliefs without fear of censorship. The Disinformation Governance Board is entirely un-American, and I will vigorously oppose every attempt by Biden to silence those who oppose his political views.”
The board, which got its start under former President Donald Trump, not Biden, has no enforcement authority and is not in place to police political speech of Americans.
The attorneys general argue that this government watchdog agency would abridge a citizen’s right to express their opinions and disagree with the government, furthering self-censorship rather than protecting freedom of speech.
The letter states that “the Disinformation Governance Board, by its very existence, and almost certainly by design, threatens to ‘enforce silence’ when Americans wish to express views disfavored by the administration. Contrary to the letter’s statement, the board has no enforcement ability or authority.