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DHS secretary says disinformation board won’t infringe on free speech: We’re not opinion police

FILE – Homeland Security logo is seen during a joint news conference in Washington, Feb. 25, 2015. The Department of Homeland Security is stepping up an effort to counter disinformation coming from Russia as well as misleading information that human smugglers circulate to target migrants hoping to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday defended his department’s new disinformation board, arguing it does not infringe on free speech and was implemented to combat dangerous misinformation being spread by the cartels.

Mayorkas told “Fox New Sunday” the disinformation board is solely meant to “address disinformation that presents a threat to the homeland.”

“Our work does not infringe on free speech, infringe on civil rights or civil liberties,” Mayorkas said. “An individual has the free speech right to spew antisemitic rhetoric. What they don’t have the right to do is take hostages in a synagogue.”

Mayorkas may have been referring to the synagogue hostage crisis in Colleyville, Texas, in January, when an armed man took a rabbi and others hostage before killing himself.

The disinformation board was announced last week but drew some criticism from conservatives who said it could be used to target conservatives. They also criticized Nina Jankowicz, who will lead the board, for past comments.

The Homeland Security secretary told “Fox News Sunday” the disinformation board will tackle dangerous rhetoric, saying South American cartels and other smugglers have spread disinformation about the U.S. border that has led to surges at the crossing.

Mayorkas emphasized the board will not infringe on free speech.

“There are people in the department who have a diverse range of views, and they’re incredibly dedicated to the mission,” he said. “We’re not the opinion police.”

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Alejandro Mayorkas Disinformation board

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