Just make it match

There was so much stuff yesterday that I never got to the DHS whistleblower. About that:

A senior Department of Homeland Security official alleges that he was told to stop providing intelligence reports on the threat of Russian interference in the 2020 election, in part because it “made the President look bad,” an instruction he believed would jeopardize national security.

Gee, what a wacky belief.

The official, Brian Murphy, who until recently was in charge of intelligence and analysis at DHS, said in a whistleblower complaint that on two occasions he was told to stand down on reporting about the Russian threat and alleged that senior officials told him to modify other intelligence reports, including about white supremacists, to bring them in line with President Trump’s public comments, directions he said he refused.

Brilliant. “Senior officials” told an intel official to manipulate intel reports to fit President Narcissist’s manic tweets. That’s definitely what we want intel officials to be doing. Russia’s fucking with the election in order to stick us with Trump again? We don’t want to hear that, make the reports say that Biden has a scary antifa squad in the basement of a falafel bar in Georgetown.

On July 8, Murphy said in the complaint, acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf told him that an “intelligence notification” regarding Russian disinformation efforts should be “held” because it was unflattering to Trump, who has long derided the Kremlin’s interference as a “hoax” that was concocted by his opponents to delegitimize his victory in 2016.

Mister Wolf? Sir? Intelligence reports aren’t supposed to be “flattering” to Donald Trump. That’s not their purpose. That’s not their purpose at all. Quite the reverse. The state of Donald Trump’s flattery-receptor is of no relevance whatsoever to the need to know how Putin is manipulating this election.

It’s not clear who would have seen the notification, but DHS’s intelligence reports are routinely shared with the FBI, other federal law enforcement agencies, and state and local governments.

People in a position to do something about the information, in short.

Murphy objected to Wolf’s instruction, “stating that it was improper to hold a vetted intelligence product for reasons [of] political embarrassment,” according to a copy of his whistleblower complaint that was obtained by The Washington Post.

“Improper” is a nicely subdued way of putting it.

The president’s political interests were often of greater concern to senior leaders at the department than reporting the facts based on evidence, Murphy alleges. He claims that Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, the department’s second-in-command, on various occasions instructed him to massage the language in intelligence reports “to ensure they matched up with the public comments by Trump on the subject of ANTIFA and ‘anarchist’ groups,” according to the complaint.

We can almost hear it. “Change this so that it makes Trump’s rants about antifa and the Democrats sound true.”

Murphy’s claims that Trump officials tried to downplay the threat from Russia will add to a chorus of complaints on Capitol Hill that administration officials are withholding vital information about election interference from lawmakers and voters. The administration has limited the number of lawmakers who may be briefed on the subject.

Murphy alleges an ongoing effort by senior officials to obfuscate the threat from Russia in particular. He claimed that in May, Wolf told him to stop producing intelligence assessments on Russia and shift the focus on election interference to China and Iran.

As Barr did just the other day.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that Murphy’s complaint “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.”

And makes it more likely that Putin will succeed in getting Trump re-elected, thus putting us even more at risk.

Last month, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated publicly that Russia, China and Iran were engaged in interference campaigns, an assessment that drew sharp rebukes from Democratic lawmakers, who said the administration was trying to equate the efforts of all three countries, when in fact Russia is the only one actively trying to help Trump by attacking Biden.


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