Another whistleblower has emerged from within the Trump administration. Brian Murphy, until recently, was in charge of intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security. In his complaint filed with the Inspector General at DHS, Murphy claims that he was demoted for refusing to doctor intelligence in a way that aligned with the messages Trump wanted to convey.
Murphy first filed a complaint with the IG in 2018 when Kirstjen Neilsen was DHS Secretary. In it, he alleged that, following instructions from the White House, he was pressured to suggest that large numbers of “known or suspected terrorists” were illegally coming across our southern border in order to justify the building of Trump’s wall. Murphy refused to comply, telling his supervisor that it was “an improper administration of an intelligence program,” and that “doing what was being requested would constitute a felony.” The complaint suggests that Neilsen gave perjured testimony to Congress in December 2018.
The following year, Murphy claims, Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli pressured him to alter an intelligence report regarding conditions in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador in order to better align them with Trump’s claims about asylum seekers coming from countries with “high levels of corruption, violence, and poor economic conditions.”
Mr. Cuccinelli expressed frustration with the intelligence reports, and he accused unknown “deep state intelligence analysts” of compiling the intelligence information to undermine President Donald J. Trump’s (“President Trump”) policy objectives with respect to asylum.
Once again, Murphy contends, he refused to comply and Cuccinelli demanded that the “deep state intelligence analysts” be fired, but apparently never followed up.
The most explosive charge Murphy makes in the complaint, however, is that after regularly briefing administration officials about Russian attempts to interfere in the 2020 election, he was told by Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf 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.”
If any of that sounds familiar its because that is exactly what was included in the statement that was eventually released by William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. Furthermore, DNI John Ratcliffe used the same lie to justify his directive that in-person intelligence briefings on election interference would no longer be provided to Congress.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe defends scaling back in-person election security briefings to Congress pic.twitter.com/YKf2sjtI1S
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) August 30, 2020
Ratcliffe said that the suggestion that Russia poses a greater threat than China “simply isn’t true.” In other words, he wants us to ignore Russia and focus on their narrative of blaming everything on China.
The final episode Murphy relates is the development of a document called a “Homeland Threat Assessment.” Wolf and Cuccinelli refused to distribute the document due to their concerns about how it would “reflect upon President Trump.”
Two sections were specifically labeled as concerns: White Supremacy and Russian influence in the United States…Mr. Cuccinelli stated that Mr. Murphy needed to specifically modify the section on White Supremacy in a manner that made the threat appear less severe, as well as include information on the prominence of violent “left-wing” groups.
When Murphy refused to comply with that one, he says, it seemed to be the final straw. In retaliation, he was demoted.
It is important to note that Murphy’s complaint is consistent with what we’ve seen from members of Trump’s cabinet, such as DNI Ratcliffe, AG Barr, and DHS Secretary Wolf. There is a coordinated effort to alter intelligence in a way that supports Trump’s lies, which also happen to align with Moscow’s. In a statement announcing an investigation into Murphy’s complaint, Rep. Adam Schiff characterized the situation:
The whistleblower retaliation complaint filed by former Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Brian Murphy outlines grave and disturbing allegations that senior White House and Department of Homeland Security officials improperly sought to politicize, manipulate, and censor intelligence in order to benefit President Trump politically. This puts our nation and its security at grave risk.
The threat is, indeed, grave and actually resides in the White House.