Trump administration appointees suppressed intelligence on Russian election interference and the threat from white supremacists, according to a whistle-blower complaint filed by the Department of Homeland Security’s former intelligence chief.
The complaint by Brian Murphy alleges interference from officials including Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Kenneth Cuccinelli and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.
In May, Wolf instructed Murphy to stop providing intelligence assessments on Russian election meddling and instead start reporting on interference activities by China and Iran, according to the complaint, which was released Wednesday by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.
“Mr. Wolf stated that these instructions specifically originated from White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien,” according to the complaint. “Mr. Murphy informed Mr. Wolf he would not comply with these instructions, as doing so would put the country in substantial and specific danger.”
On July 7, the department’s chief of staff sent an email to Murphy directing him to stop dissemination of intelligence products regarding Russian disinformation efforts because it “made the President look bad,” according to the complaint.
Murphy also alleges he was told by Cuccinelli to downplay the threat of white supremacists in favor of promoting the narrative that left-wing groups were more threatening, according to the complaint.
In August, Murphy was demoted from his post as DHS’s principal deputy under secretary for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis on the grounds that he had improperly gathered information on journalists covering Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon. He became assistant to the deputy under secretary for the DHS Management Division.
The Department of Homeland Security didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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