Rep. Adam B. Schiff on Friday requested the U.S. Department of Homeland of Security make several additional witnesses available as part of a probe of its Office of Intelligence and Analysis.
Mr. Schiff, the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, said his request was the result of a whistleblower reprisal complaint filed this week by DHS employee Brian Murphy.
A little over a month since his committee began investigating the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, known as I&A, Mr. Schiff said its members want to interview 11 additional witnesses.
“Recent developments have obligated the Committee to expand the scope of its ongoing investigation,” Mr. Schiff, California Democrat, wrote in a letter to I&A leadership.
A message requesting comment from DHS was not immediately answered.
Congress began investigating I&A in early August in response to media reporting about its role in responding to recent protests taking place in Portland, Oregon, among other large U.S. cities.
At the time, Mr. Schiff said among his concerns was that Mr. Murphy, then principal deputy undersecretary at I&A, had directed analysts to link the Antifa movement to violence in Portland.
Lawyers for Mr. Murphy, who had served as principal deputy undersecretary at I&A until Aug. 1, alleged in the complaint that he was demoted for blowing the whistle on that matter and others.
They said Mr. Murphy was demoted after refusing to modify intelligence reports to mention Antifa, short for anti-fascist, “to ensure they matched up with the public comments by President Trump.”
In the complaint, his lawyers allege he also previously raised concerns about DHS leadership downplaying the threats posed by the Russian government and white supremacists, among other matters.
“The misconduct and abuses detailed in the complaint occurred as early as 2018, continued through this year, and concern subjects of Committee oversight: intelligence reporting, analysis, and dissemination regarding foreign influence, interference, and threats regarding the 2020 U.S. elections, and any interference in this crucial mission; misuse of intelligence authorities and resources; and the suppression, manipulation, or misrepresentation of intelligence information for improper political ends,” Mr. Schiff wrote to Joseph B. Maher, Mr. Murphy’s successor at I&A.
“As a result, the Committee will need to address during its interviews and depositions of Department officials and other witnesses not only matters related to I&A’s activities in Portland and in support of the Department’s response to nationwide protests; but also the range of matters raised in Mr. Murphy’s reprisal complaint and any other related matters that may arise in the course of the investigation and that fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee,” he added.
Lawyers representing Mr. Murphy filed the whistleblower reprisal complaint on Tuesday with the DHS office of the inspector general.
Mr. Schiff’s office said the congressman met Wednesday with Mr. Maher, the senior official performing the duties of undersecretary for I&A, and that the latter pledged his cooperation.
The additional interviews requested Friday by Mr. Schiff are with DHS officials including Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Horace Jen, I&A Chief of Staff Matthew Hanna, DHS Chief of Staff John Gountanis and DHS Deputy Chief of Staff Tyler Houlton, among others.
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