‘You can’t even agree that it was disinformation’: Rand Paul invokes Russia dossier to strike at DHS board

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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, is being lauded for delivering unto Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas a scorching grilling on so-called disinformation and its true disseminators.

During an appropriations committee hearing Wednesday concerning DHS’ new Disinformation Governance Board, the senator used a multitude of examples to prove that the federal government is itself America’s top disseminator of disinformation.

The grilling began with Paul broaching the discredited Steele dossier that was used by the federal government as a basis to investigate former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and used by the establishment press to likewise smear Trump.

Trump always denied the allegations contained in the dossier, but not until years later did the federal government finally confirm that he was indeed telling the truth. In the end, the dossier itself turned out to be Russian disinformation.

“The problem you have is you’re not even willing to admit — we can’t even have an agreement on what the FBI said is disinformation. How do you propose you’re going to have an Office of Disinformation Governance if you see the problem in even determining what is disinformation?” Paul asked Mayorkas.

Indeed, in addition to labeling Russian disinformation the truth, as happened with the Steele dossier, the federal government also has a history of labeling the truth Russian disinformation, as happened with Hunter Biden’s laptop.

The DHS secretary replied by saying the new disinformation board won’t be “focused on disinformation writ large” but rather on disinformation pertaining to national security threats. But, Paul responded, that would include the Russians, no?

Mayorkas responded by suggesting the disinformation board will only be focused on national security threats related to the southern U.S. border, but Paul didn’t buy his answer and tried returning to his original point.

“Let’s say there’s Russian disinformation as well. Are you going to take to social media and broadcast that people are broadcasting something incorrect about what you think is Russian disinformation?” the senator said.

This time the DHS secretary took the bait.

“The Department of Homeland Security, we become involved when disinformation poses a threat to the security of our country. It is when there’s a connectivity to a threat to our country. It could be a threat, a connectivity to violence,” he said.

“But here’s the problem. We can’t even agree what disinformation is. You can’t even agree that it was disinformation the Russians fed to the Steele dossier,” Paul replied.

“Do you know who the greatest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world is? The U.S. government. Are you familiar with McNamara, the Pentagon Papers? Are you familiar with George W. Bush and the weapons of mass destruction? Are you familiar with Iran Contra?” the Republican lawmaker continued.

“I mean, think of all the debates and disputes we’ve had over the last 50 years in our country. We work them out by debating them. We don’t work them out by the government being the arbiter,” Paul continued. “I don’t want your guard rails. I want you to have nothing to do with speech. … You think the American people are so stupid they need you to tell them what the truth is. You can’t even admit what the truth is with the Steele dossier. I don’t trust government to figure out what the truth is. Government is largely disseminating disinformation.”

These blunt remarks — to a government official, no less — earned the senator widespread applause, with some so impressed they expressed hope that the senator will run for president again come 2024.


Conservatives strongly worry that the new Disinformation Governance Board will be used to silence dissenters, and even libertarians say they have a point.

“That broad description of the board’s mission, combined with [White House press secretary Jen] Psaki’s apparent obliviousness to the civil liberties issues raised by government efforts to ‘prevent disinformation and misinformation from traveling,’ seemed to validate the concerns of conservative critics,” according to a Reason magazine piece published Wednesday.

It doesn’t help that the woman assigned to lead the board, Nina Jankowicz, is among those in the federal government with a track record for labeling Russian disinformation the truth and the God-honest truth Russian disinformation …


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