The House Intelligence Committee has released the whistleblower complaint brought forward by ex-Department of Homeland Security principal deputy undersecretary Brian Murphy, of the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. In it, Murphy reports that illegally appointed acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf ordered him to alter multiple U.S. intelligence assessments to bury intelligence findings detrimental to Trump and exaggerate claims supportive of Trump’s own claims. If true—and there is absolutely no reason to believe it is not—then Donald Trump’s administration explicitly directed officials to undermine U.S. intelligence findings in service of Trump-friendly propaganda.
Among Murphy’s claims:
• When preparing a report on national security threats, Trump official Ken Cuccinelli “stated that Mr. Murphy needed to specifically modify the section on White Supremacy in a manner that made the threat appear less severe.” After Murphy refused, Chad Wolf and Cuccinelli blocked that report from publication.
• In May of this year, Wolf ordered Murphy to “cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference in the United States.” He was instead instructed to “start reporting on interference activities by China and Iran.”
• In 2018, then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified that over 3,700 “known or suspected terrorists” had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. In a meeting in preparation for her additional testimony in March 2019, Murphy “provided Secretary Nielsen with documentation reflecting that the number of [known or suspected terrorists] crossing the southwest border only consisted of no more than three individuals, not 3,755 individuals as she had previously attested to in her testimony.” The response by Wolf and former official Miles Taylor was to tell Nielsen she should “claim the details were classified” and “deflect away from the addressing the significant discrepancy.” When Murphy objected, he was removed from the meeting.
All three incidents reflect not just a willingness by Wolf and other Trump-appointed officials to politicize intelligence findings, but to alter intelligence findings to better match Trump administration claims and propaganda. Repeatedly.
It is a betrayal of the nation.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.