DHS Whistleblower: Trump Team Wanted Us to Lie About Russia, the Border, and White Supremacy
William Vaillancourt September 26, 2021
A Department of Homeland Security whistleblower leveled a series of bombshell accusations Sunday in his first television interview, accusing his Trump administration superiors of pressing for manipulated intelligence on three critical subjects: Russian support for Donald Trump, the Mexican border, and the white supremacist threat inside the United States.
Brian Murphy, the former principal deputy undersecretary in DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, filed a whistleblower complaint last year — as well as a handful of internal complaints and reports — that all painted a frightening picture of how things were running in the department tasked with keeping Americans safe. “From the outset, there were three things that I was told that we would look to manipulate intelligence on and bend the truth about,” Murphy told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week. “And I told them upfront that I wasn’t going to do it.”
On Russia, the border, and white supremacy, Murphy said he felt “intense pressure to try to take intelligence and fit a political narrative” — accusing administration officials of demanding information be manipulated to burnish Trump’s image and help his messaging.
In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved efforts to denigrate Democratic candidates in order to benefit Trump, an intelligence community report from March found. Putin also authorized a campaign “undermining public confidence in the electoral process and exacerbating socio-political divisions in the U.S” — something that Trump and some of his closest allies readily embraced during and after the election by making repeated false claims of fraud.
In regards to the southern border, the former FBI agent alleged, the DHS took a similar approach: fabricating a terrorist threat and misleading Congress to improve the political conditions for Trump’s coveted border wall.
The pattern repeated when it came to white supremacists, particularly after white supremacists killed a counter protester, Heather Heyer, at a right-wing rally in Charlottesville in 2017. “After Charlottesville, it became a third-rail issue…within the department to talk about white supremacy in any meaningful way,” Murphy said.
In his whistleblower complaint, Murphy wrote that senior official Ken Cuccinelli demanded that he “modify the section on White Supremacy in a manner that made the threat appear less severe.” But Murphy says he refused, because doing so “would constitute censorship of analysis and the improper administration of an intelligence program.”
Murphy’s reluctance to play along gave him a “target on his back,” he recalled.
Former DHS director Chad Wolf accused him of having a credibility problem, and removed him from his position last August, citing claims that he violated legal requirements regarding the collection of information about journalists during riots in Portland, Oregon. Murphy denied those claims.