Ex-intelligence chief at US Department of Homeland Security files whistleblower claim

Kirstjen NielsenThe former head of intelligence at the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has filed a whistleblower complaint, alleging that he was pressured to manipulate his analyses for political reasons. The 24-page complaint was filed on Tuesday with the Office of the DHS Inspector General. The whistleblower is identified as Brian Murphy, who served as acting chief of intelligence for the DHS. The contents of the complaint have been made available online on the website of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Murphy alleges that his superiors, including senior officials in the DHS, engaged in “attempted abuse of authority” and possibly violated federal law. In his whistleblower complaint, Murphy says his supervisors essentially fabricated intelligence products on pressing security matters, in order to make them agreeable to President Donald Trump. In doing so, claims Murphy, these officials tried to “censor and manipulate the intelligence information” produced by DHS analysts, in order to further President Trump’s agenda.

In his complaint, Murphy identifies acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, his predecessor, Kirstjen Nielsen (pictured), and Wolf’s deputy, Ken Cuccinelli, as individuals who pressured him to change his intelligence products. The pressures allegedly began with reference to Russian interference in the US presidential elections of 2016. According to Murphy, his supervisors instructed him to “cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference in the United States, [and] instead start reporting on interference activities by China and Iran”.

The pressures, according to Murphy, later expanded to include efforts to get him to downplay the domestic terrorist threat posed by far-right organizations, and to accentuate purported links between terrorism and immigration to the US coming from Latin America. In late 2018, the then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Congress that nearly 3,800 documented terrorists crossed the US border from Mexico. But Murphy alleges that the actual number was just three confirmed cases.

The complaint further alleges that Murphy was removed from his post in August of this year, and was “de facto demoted” after he confronted Wolf and Cuccinelli and refused to “manipulate intelligence for political reasons”. Murphy’s removal was one of a number of “retaliatory actions” against him for refusing to comply with his superiors’ pressures, according to the complaint.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 10 September 2020 | Permalink

4 Responses to Ex-intelligence chief at US Department of Homeland Security files whistleblower claim

  1. Dave says:

    Offhand this sounds like an incompetent Democrat trying to get even for being demotted

  2. bjmarsh1 says:

    The complaint by Murphy shows a continuing and clear pattern of actions to NOT accept the judgements of senior managers more qualified and experienced than Murphy. The complaint also documents a pattern of behaviour by Murphy that establishes him as a member of the Deep State and one whose political views have coloured his approach to the factual information used to inform the intelligence assessments. He is one of a number of anti-Trump officials determined to defeat the President by white-anting his administration. He deserves no pity or reward other than a dishonourable discharge.

  3. Pete says:

    Telling the boss what he wants to hear is always a problem with peak, repeatedly revised, intel assessments. This is exacerbated by Trump’s refusal to listen to, let alone read, intel assessments in any depth.

  4. Roderick Mackin says:

    With 17 intel shops stumbling over each other it’s a miracle any valid or reliable data winds up on any US decisionmakers desk. DHS does not seem to have improved the intel community’s performance in nearly 20 years. US intelligence missed the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian Revolution, and didn’t know the Berlin Wall was coming down until a brick fell on somebody’s head. Sad really.

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