September 9, 2020
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the head of the House Intelligence Committee, said a new whistleblower has come forward, alleging suppression of intelligence reports on Russian election interference.
“We’ve received a whistleblower complaint alleging DHS suppressed intel reports on Russian election interference, altered intel to match false Trump claims and made false statements to Congress,” he wrote on Wednesday afternoon. “This puts our national security at risk.”
Schiff said, “We will investigate.”
Schiff, who was the main architect of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump late last year, alleged that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and White House officials suppressed the reports. He said that former Intelligence and Analysis Acting Under Secretary Brian Murphy filed a whistleblower reprisal complaint at the DHS’s Office of Inspector General.
“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,” he added. “This puts our nation and its security at grave risk.”
The White House has not responded to a request for comment.
A panel headed by former special counsel Robert Mueller found that Trump’s campaign did not collude with Moscow in the leadup to the 2016 elections. After that, Inspector General of the United States Department of Justice Michael Horowitz found there were 17 significant errors and omissions, and in March 2020, he found there were “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts” in about two dozen FBI wiretap applications—similar to those that were used to surveil former Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
China, Not Russia?
William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, which is overseen by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, found that China, not Russia, poses the greatest threat to election security in 2020.
“Beijing recognizes its efforts might affect the presidential race,” Evanina said on July 24.
“The American public has a role to play in securing the election, particularly in maintaining vigilance against foreign influence,” Evanina said. “At the most basic level, we encourage Americans to consume information with a critical eye, check out sources before reposting or spreading messages, practice good cyber hygiene and media literacy, and report suspicious election-related activity to authorities.”
Schiff’s comments also come after Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said on Aug. 30 that it is necessary to scale back election security briefings due to congressional leaks.
Ratcliffe said on Fox News that he had been frequently briefing “not just the oversight committees but every member of Congress.” But, he said, “within minutes of one of those briefings ending, a number of members of Congress went to a number of different outlets and leaked classified information for political purposes.”
The top intelligence official added that it is designed “to create a narrative that simply isn’t true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China.”
“I don’t mean to minimize Russia. They are a serious national security threat, but day in, day out, the threats that we face from China are significantly greater,” Ratcliffe added. “Anyone who says otherwise is just politicizing intelligence for their own narrative.”
Schiff, however, said over the weekend that China does not pose a greater threat than Russia, responding to a comment from Attorney General William Barr, who made the assertion.