House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) promised Wednesday the immediate launch of an investigation into whistleblower allegations that senior Trump administration officials censored information on intelligence reports that “made President Trump look bad.”
Among the information allegedly censored were details regarding the rising threat of white supremacism and Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2020 election, according to former Department of Homeland Security official Brian Murphy, who filed the formal whistleblower complaint with the department’s inspector general this week.
In a press release, Schiff said that he and his committee would probe Murphy’s “grave and disturbing” allegations of “serious wrongdoing” by senior Trump officials, including acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolfe and acting Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinnelli.
“We will get to the bottom of this, expose any and all misconduct or corruption to the American people, and put a stop to the politicization of intelligence,” he sternly promised.
Here’s the kicker
What Schiff conveniently did not mention is that no more than five weeks earlier he had accused Murphy of lying to Congress.
According to a New York Times report in August, Schiff said that his committee had been conducting “rigorous oversight” of Murphy’s actions as acting under secretary in the department’s Intelligence and Analysis branch and were “concerned that Murphy may have provided incomplete and potentially misleading information to Committee staff during our recent oversight engagement.” (emphases added)
At the time, Murphy had just been reassigned from his position after it was discovered his unit was compiling intelligence on journalists in Portland, Oregon.
The Times report noted that it wasn’t only Schiff who had complaints about Murphy’s questionable workplace conduct:
In 2015, Mr. Murphy joined F.B.I. headquarters to work on an effort known as Countering Violent Extremism, or C.V.E., after serving as an assistant special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Chicago. Mr. Murphy was known as an ambitious investigator who was once profiled in a self-aggrandizing article about a terrorism case he had worked on. But some former agents and Justice Department officials familiar with Mr. Murphy’s work at the time, who requested anonymity to discuss internal discussions at the agencies, expressed concern about some C.V.E. proposals, his tendency to ignore the rules and failure to coordinate his activities. (emphases added)
Furthermore, in the press release, Schiff acknowledged that his committee’s investigation into the I&A — and thus Murphy — is ongoing, which makes the timing of Murphy’s complaint all the more peculiar.
At the least, it might appear to some that Schiff’s opinion of Murphy as a reliable source shifted considerably at the precise moment that Murphy’s stance toward the Trump administration turned hostile.
DHS spokesman Alexei Woltornist flatly denied Murphy’s allegations Wednesday, saying the department “looks forward to the results of any resulting investigation and we expect it will conclude that no retaliatory action was taken against Mr. Murphy.”