Small group, big headache: Inside DHS’ messy Disinformation Governance Board launch

It started the way all Washington’s spiciest scandals start — with a departmental working group.

Over just a few days last week, the creation of a new board in the Department of Homeland Security generated an outcry on the right, from genteel retiring lawmakers to the loudest hosts on Fox News. It found its way to congressional Republicans’ oversight to-do lists. The secretary of Homeland Security was forced to address the allegations on multiple Sunday shows. And the board’s new executive director went very, very viral.

It was dramatic. But it didn’t start that way.

“The irony is that this board is really kind of boring,” said a DHS official who was not authorized to address the topic on the record. “It was designed to protect against the very thing that we’re being accused of doing — that is, it was designed to protect the free speech, privacy, civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans.”

It hasn’t even convened its first meeting, but

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