A little over a year after a CIA officer filed a whistleblower complaint that eventually led to Trump’s impeachment by the House, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence branch is now alleging that top Trump appointees at the agency politicized reports to downplay threats, in order to reflect the boss’s political outlook. Below is everything we know about the the whistleblower’s report and the political blowback of the emerging scandal.
Who is the whistleblower?
Unlike the last major whistleblower scandal, in which the identity of the person was not widely reported upon, the whistleblower’s name, Brian Murphy, is on the complaint filed with the DHS inspector general. Murphy was responsible for intelligence and analysis at the agency until he was removed from his position in July and given a management role, after it was revealed that his office gathered intelligence reports on two American journalists.
The whistleblower’s allegations
Murphy alleges that top Trump appointees at the Department of
Homeland Security — including Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli — abused their power by directing officials to alter intelligence reports to reflect the president’s political messaging. Specifically, officials were told to downplay real threats from white supremacists and exaggerate those from antifa and “anarchist” groups, according to CNN.
Murphy claims that he refused requests to water down draft versions of a report detailing the terrorist threat of white supremacists, which led to a decision by Wolf and Cuccinelli to put the document on pause. While the final version of that warning has not yet been made public, a copy of the draft leaked earlier this week states that white supremacy is the “most lethal threat” to the country and will remain so throughout all of next year. As the New York Times notes, DHS has “stalled in releasing an implementation plan for combating white supremacy and other forms of domestic terrorism for nearly a year.”
According to the Washington Post, Wolf also told Murphy to stop providing analysis on the threat Russia poses in the coming election because it made “the president look bad.”
The House Intelligence Committee has requested the whistleblower’s testimony
Shortly after the report was made public, the House Intelligence Committee requested that Murphy testify privately on September 21, with a potential public hearing to follow. In a letter to Murphy’s attorney on Wednesday, the committee described the report’s allegations as “repeated violations of laws and regulations, abuses of authority, attempted censorship of intelligence analysis and improper administration of an intelligence program related to Russian efforts to influence the US elections.”
“We will get to the bottom of this, expose any and all misconduct or corruption to the American people, and put a stop to the politicization of intelligence,” Representative Adam Schiff, the committee’s chairman, said in an accompanying statement.