Mayorkas acknowledges being unaware of some Jankowicz online posts prior to 'Disinformation' hiring

Jankowicz's statements about content of Hunter Biden's laptop, so-called Steele dossier have raised concerns about her objectivity

Updated: May 5, 2022 - 1:00pm

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has acknowledge having little to no knowledge of Nina Jankowicz's history of spreading "disinformation" prior to hiring her to lead his agency's Disinformation Governance Board.

Mayorkas made the acknowledgement Wednesday when testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

In the hearing, Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy pressed Mayorkas on whose decision it had been to hire Jankowicz, adding that were he the DHS secretary, "I would fire her on the spot."

Mayorkas also suggested he is not involved in every "internal hiring process" but as leader of the agency accepts full responsibility for the decision to bring in Jankowicz. 

"Ultimately, as the secretary I am responsible for the decisions of the Department of Homeland Security," he said.

He also said he was unaware that Jankowicz has said Hunter Biden's laptop is "Russian disinformation."

Data on the laptop of President Biden' son Hunter Biden that was made public late in the 2020 White House race was widely dismissed at the time by the mainstream media and others as Russian disinformation.

However, such news outlets more recently have acknowledged the legitimacy of the content, particularly that related to Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings while, at least in part, his father was vice president. 

Mayorkas gave a similar answer when asked whether he was aware that Jankowicz had vouched for the authenticity of the since debunked "Steele dossier," an opposition research file that tried to show those connected to then-2016 GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the race. 

"Senator, let me repeat myself and add an additional fact," Mayorkas said. "One, we do not discuss internal hiring processes. Two, I was not aware of that fact. Three, as the secretary of homeland security I am responsible for the decisions of the department, and 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."

Kennedy replied: "I can tell."

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, another GOP committee member, who called Jankowicz a "human geyser of misinformation," asked Mayorkas how he could be unaware of a number of comments Jankowicz made on various social media platforms.

"Did you not do any research on her?" he asked. 

Mayorkas went on to say that the rollout of the "Disinformation Governance Board," which critics have dubbed the "Ministry of Truth," has been "suboptimal." He also committed to sharing its charter with lawmakers.