A Panel to Combat Disinformation Becomes a Victim of It

The Department of Homeland Security announced on Wednesday that it was suspending the work of an internal advisory board intended to combat disinformation after what the department described as a deliberate disinformation campaign.

The creation of the panel, called the Disinformation Governance Board, set off a firestorm of criticism when it was announced last month. While the criticism came from across the political spectrum, including civil liberty groups, the fiercest denunciations came from the right. Republican leaders and commentators talked about it as an Orwellian Ministry of Truth that would police people’s speech.

That was never the board’s mandate, a department spokesman said in a written statement. Instead, it was meant to coordinate the department’s various agencies in the fight against malicious disinformation by foreign adversaries, drug or human traffickers or other international crime groups.

Only weeks after its inception, however, its fate is now in doubt. Nina Jankowicz, an authority on disinformation who was chosen in the spring to lead the board, submitted her resignation on Wednesday after facing vitriolic and highly personal harassment and abuse online.