Concerns about free speech are mounting over the Biden administration's new Disinformation Governance Board.
While they claim it aims to protect the First Amendment, many lawmakers, state legislators, and constitutional scholars call this new agency a weapon.
The White House defends this government creation, which came after billionaire Elon Musk's announcement to buy Twitter. Under the Homeland Security Department, critics are skeptical of its timing and mission.
"The timing is not coincidental. After Elon Musk purchased Twitter, the left is frightened they are losing an avenue of censorship," said Lora Ries, a senior research fellow for Homeland Security at The Heritage Foundation.
Backlash is growing over what's being described as the Democrats' latest attempt to censor speech.
"Democrats think disinformation is any fact inconvenient to Joe Biden and the Democratic Party," said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas who will oversee this new board is already pushing back against claims the group will act as "The Truth Police."
At a Homeland Security hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Mayorkas rejected this allegation.
"This internal working group was established with the exclusive role of ensuring the protection of free speech, privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties," he said.
Some argue it will do just the opposite and that Mayorkas has his own history of playing fast and loose with the truth.
More than a dozen GOP senators are behind a bill to stop the board, calling its creation an abuse of power while drawing comparisons to George Orwell's "Ministry of Truth" which pushed government propaganda in his classic novel 1984 about dictatorship.
George Orwell's novel "1984" was published in 1949. (Photo credit: Abdul Ahad Sheikh/Unsplash)
In defending the idea, the White House has been short on specifics, including who gets to decide what's disinformation and what's not.
When asked for more information by the press, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a recent briefing, "I really haven't dug into this exactly. There's been a range of info out there on a range of topics on COVID for example and elections and eligibility."
During Wednesday's hearing, Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford also questioned the purpose of the board and the controversial woman who's been selected to lead it.
"We have a practical question here. We don't have a definition of what it is. We don't have boundaries of what it does. The FBI already does this. The State Department already does this. And the person you tap to lead the disinformation campaign has been outspoken on Tik Tok and Twitter with disinformation." Lankford said.
Nina Jankowicz, the board's executive director, posted a bizarre TikTok video showing her singing about disinformation. She calls herself "a Russian disinformation expert."
Though the White House is promising the board will be non-partisan, Republicans say Jankowicz has already shown clear bias.
"When the department picked her, did you know she had said that Mr. Hunter Biden's laptop is Russian disinformation?," Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy asked Mayorkas.
"I was not aware of that," Mayorkas answered.
"Did it show she vouched for the veracity of the Steele Dossier?" Kennedy pressed.
"I was not aware of that fact," Mayorkas replied.
Despite the criticism, the White House insists Jankowicz is highly qualified to take the helm.
The board is expected to hold its first meeting within the next several days while Republicans promise to legislate it out of existence.