Last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Disinformation Governance Board was shut down within months of its forming after critics labeled it Joe Biden's Ministry of Truth.
"It was a fairly safe bet that the strong backlash notwithstanding, the initiative would rear its head again at some point," Didi Rankovic wrote in a May 11 analysis for Reclaim The Net.
Meet the Foreign Malign Influence Center (FMIC).
In August of last year, DHS announced that it was terminating the Disinformation Governance Board.
Quietly, the Foreign Malign Influence Center launched just one month later with nearly the same mission as the Disinformation Governance Board.
"It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book," Jeff Brown wrote for Brownstone Research in March. "The government simply dropped the 'hot potato' (Disinformation Governance Board) by shutting it down, appearing to give a win to those who believe in freedom and constitutional rights. And the next month, it re-instituted the planned thought police with a new name in a different governmental agency. And almost no one noticed."
The FMIC is located at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Some have suggested that the FMIC is Team Biden's attempt at a Disinformation Governance Board part 2.
There is "a similar declarative focus on foreign threat, which is then easy to transition, as a smokescreen, to turning the authorities’ sights onto 'domestic dissenters,' " Rankovic wrote. "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 U.S. 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.
The FMIC claims the threat from abroad is constant and “dynamic” and 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 FMIC's claim that it is tasked with the “protection of U.S. public opinion” may, critics say, be a euphemism for policing domestic narratives.
The existence of the FMIC has remained mostly under the radar. Earlier this month, it came up during an address by ODNI chief Avril Haines during a hearing organized by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Matt Taibbi, one of the independent journalists who released the Twitter Files, believes the real goal of the FMIC is to “slowly adjust aim to domestic targets.”
But first – what Taibbi calls “the basic rhetorical trick of the censorship age” must “raise a fuss about a foreign threat, using it as a battering ram to get everyone from Congress to the tech companies to submit to increased regulation and surveillance.”
Membership . . . . Intelligence . . . . Publish