WASHINGTON (AP) — Nina Jankowicz, like so many millennials, was thrilled to share a social media post announcing her new job on Twitter late last month when she was named executive director of a new disinformation council created by the Department of Homeland Security.
But instead of good wishes, Jankowicz’s tweet sparked a torrent of profanity on social media and threatening emails filled with rape or death threats that continue to follow her even after she resigned from that new job on Wednesday morning. after the disastrous deployment of the program. .
For her part, Jankowicz said Wednesday that she would not be “silenced” by the online harassment and that it was not the final provocation that led to her resignation.
But it had a similar effect.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas decided on Tuesday to suspend work of the Disinformation Governance Council after such a negative reception and growing concerns that it was becoming a distraction to the department’s other work on disinformation, according to two department officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations. internal. The board break led Jankowicz to resign Wednesday morning.
Admittedly, the failed board launch and subsequent struggle for the agency to directly answer questions about its purpose, funding or work made the new initiative controversial from the start. Republican critics and lawmakers have raised questions about how the council could infringe on Americans’ free speech and privacy rights.
Others have expressed concern over Jankowicz’s statements in the 2020 election, warning of possible Russian involvement around the provenance of a laptop believed to belong to Hunter Biden, the president’s eldest son. A TikTok video she posted to the tune of a “Mary Poppins” song calling the story misinformation has been widely criticized by conservative media, Republicans and others.
“I was trying to do important work to protect Americans from a real threat,” Jankowicz said. But, instead, she spent time reporting a constant wave of threats against herself.
“It was awful. It was constant (direct messages), emails, threats on Twitter, threats on other places that I wasn’t looking at. It’s obviously very scary and really unpleasant.