The Disinformation Governance Board Is Out. The “Foreign Malign Influence Center” Is In.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Disinformation Governance Board met an ignoble demise last year, when it was disbanded within months, amid public criticism and staff-related scandal. Despite being derisively referred to as “the Ministry of Truth” – i.e., a US government’s alleged attempt to create an Orwellian-like institution – it was a fairly safe bet that the strong backlash notwithstanding, the initiative would rear its head again at some point. Soon. Meet the Foreign Malign Influence Center (FMIC), located at the Office of the Director of US National Intelligence (ODNI). Some sentiment suggest that this might be a Disinformation Governance Board 2 – what with a similar declarative focus on foreign threat, which is then easy to transition, as a smokescreen, to turning the authorities’ sights onto “domestic dissenters.” And that would mean more censorship, in effect flying under the radar, critics fear. A deceptive tactic, they continue, which could easily use foreign threats simply as an excuse to influence politics at home. Speaking of interference – the FMIC could also “duplicate” other US efforts, such as that of a State Department’s unit that has taken it upon itself to suppress what’s seen as “populism” in other countries. Now, this is what the FMIC has to say for – and about itself – the threat from abroad is constant and “dynamic” – no doubt – but therefore, “informing efforts to counter it requires constant attention, a whole-of-government approach, support from the private sector, and engagement from the public.”…The Disinformation Governance Board Is Out. The “Foreign Malign Influence Center” Is In.