Trump officials were 'manipulating the intelligence' on white supremacy — and it made Jan 6 worse: DHS whistleblower
On CNN Monday, Homeland Security whistleblower Brian Murphy — a self-described conservative Republican and Trump voter who served as deputy undersecretary of the DHS intelligence office — opened up about how Trump administration DHS officials pressed him to manipulate intelligence about issues like white supremacy, and how it contributed to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"You said you were told to lie about multiple topics," said anchor Brianna Keilar. "Which topics?"
"So it was really anything that made the president look bad," said Murphy. "From the moment I arrived, three main topics that would draw the ire of the administration, anything to do with white supremacy, Russian disinformation, and the southwest border."
"Did officials confront the fact that ignoring these things could be problematic?" asked Keilar.
"I think it was more than ignoring them," said Murphy. "It was to manipulate the intelligence to fit that political narrative. They did not only not want things to come out, but shape it in a way that would support the president's objectives."
"Who basically said, we need to change the narrative, and did they actually use words like 'change the narrative'?" said Keilar.
"So I was told by virtually all the senior departmental officials, Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli and many others, 'I'm ordering you to change the outcome of these products,' the intelligence products we would do, and I told them many times that I would not do that and if they kept the pressure up, I would go to Congress or use the whistleblower path to make sure it was addressed," said Murphy.
"Ken Cuccinelli demanded you modify the Homeland Security threat assessment," said Keilar.
"We completed the threat assessment in March of 2020," said Murphy. "It doesn't go out for months. The reason for that is Ken Cuccinelli and Chad Wolf and others consistently wanted several areas changed. One was on white supremacy, and the other was the Russia disinformation."
"Did they say why that made President Trump look bad?" said Keilar.
"Because of the president's statement in Charlottesville and more, as the spring and summer of 2020 went along, as it related to the murder of George Floyd and other things in that time era, it would make the president look bad," said Murphy. "Those were his exact words."
"White supremacy antigovernment extremism, we saw some of the fruits of that January 6th during the insurrection," said Keilar. "Do you think this denialism affected preparedness for January 6th?"
"Absolutely," said Murphy.
DHS whistleblower Brian Murphy says Trump admin was "manipulating the data" on white supremacy www.youtube.com
A Capitol rioter is seeking to avoid jail time — arguing in a motion filed Sunday that he "did not contemplate defecating on anyone's desk."
The Department of Justice is requesting a four-month jail term for Derek Jancart, who has pleaded guilty and is set to become the first military veteran sentenced in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection on Wednesday.
Jancart's attorney — A. Eduardo Balarezo — is instead asking for a sentence of 24 months of probation.
"Mr. Jancart's conduct is undisputed," Balarezo wrote in the defense's sentencing memo Sunday. "He did not engage in any violence; did not break anything; did not confront or fight with police. He did not enter any offices; did not enter the House or Senate floor; he did not take any 'souvenirs;' did not contemplate defecating on anyone's desk; did not yell that 'we have the police surrounded!'; did not have a pickaxe with him; did not yell 'traitors gonna hang!'; did not yell 'go, go, go!' when police lines were breached. He also was not affiliated with any organized or extremist group. He did mill about the Capitol building taking pictures and left when told to do so."
Balarezo was responding to prosecutors' sentencing memo, in which they said Jancart's co-defendant, Erik Rau, "admitted to hearing rioters in the Speaker's conference room discussing breaking into glass cabinets and taking everything in it and hearing a rioter screaming to 'sh*t on her desk.'"
"(Jancart and Rau) walked past the shattered glass and penetrated the U.S. Capitol until they arrived at Speaker Pelosi's conference room where Rau overheard another rioter shouting to 'sh*t on her desk,'" the DOJ memo states. "They were undeterred by other rioters shouting, 'sh*t on her desk' and instead continued even further into the U.S. Capitol until they encountered police officers who specifically told them to leave and, based on video footage, physically placed a hand on Erik Rau in order to escort him out of the building."
Prosecutors also said they consider Jancart's military service to be an aggravating factor in the case.
"While Jancart's military service is laudable, it renders his conduct on January 6 all the more egregious," they wrote. "As a former military member, Jancart was well aware that taxpayer status does not bestow upon a person the right to enter restricted government buildings. His voluntary decision to storm a guarded government building is nothing short of shocking in light of his former military service and training."
Politico reported last week that prosecutors' sentencing memo in the case is significant given that Jancart is one of "dozens of military veterans and retired service members, current and retired police officers, and even a few security-clearance holders" charged in the insurrection.
"In the case of Jancart and Rau ... prosecutors say they came to Washington prepared for potential violence — Jancart brought a gas mask and Rau brought kevlar-lined gloves — and were among the first to breach the building, emboldening others to follow suit," Politico reported. "They delved deeper into the building, stepping past broken glass, and ignoring alarms and tear gas. In addition, after the riot, the pair celebrated their actions on social media. Jancart defended his actions when interviewed by law enforcement, suggesting that his status as a taxpayer gave him the right to enter the building."
Two of the Republican "show ponies" accused of fomenting the Jan. 6 insurrection are now decapitating President Joe Biden's ability to protect national security, according to a new report.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) have been blocking scores of nominees to critical national security positions in the Departments of Defense, State, Justice and Homeland Security, leaving the United States more vulnerable to attack, argued Daily Beast columnist David Rothkopf.
"Among the lessons we learned from the 9/11 Commission Report is the imperative of swift confirmation of a new administration's nominees, especially in the national security and foreign policy realm," said assistant Secretary of State and department spokesperson Ned Price. "Yet today, some 80 State Department nominees — including some of our most important posts — are pending before the Senate. Some of those have already been voted out of committee on a strong bipartisan basis and merely await a floor vote. The bottom line is that America needs its full team on the field if we are to confront challenges and seize opportunities most effectively. And, right now, we don't have that team at our disposal."
The 9/11 Commission found that only 57 percent of such positions were filled as of Sept. 11, 2001, while today only 26 percent of the new administration's appointees have been confirmed, including just one ambassador.
"That this is not more of a scandal is scandalous," said Loren DeJonge Schulman, vice president for research at the Partnership for Public Service. "The broken and deeply politicized Senate confirmation process made our country less safe then — the 9/11 attacks spotlighted that. It has worsened significantly since that time and it makes us less safe now."
"Our incredible body of federal civil servants is why this trend is an embarrassment, not a continuous disaster," Schulman added. "They serve admirably and responsibly no matter the season. However, there are real limits to the power, reach, authority, and effectiveness of acting officials. Many are performing multiple roles. There is no denying the 'substitute teacher' perception even with the most competent acting officials. Further, long-term utilization of acting officials — particularly when hampered by Senate inaction — actually ends up undermining Congressional oversight."
Cruz put a hold on 30 nominees until the Biden administration agreed to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project that will bring gas from Russia to Europe, and Hawley threatened to block all nominees until top officials resigned over the Afghanistan withdrawal.
"If an enemy of the United States wanted to decapitate America's national security leadership, they could hardly do a better job of it than Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley have by blocking scores of top nominees, leaving critical positions unfilled by the men and women the president of the United States has selected for those jobs," Rothkopf wrote. "The hypocrisy of criticizing Biden's foreign policy while they hobble it would be mind-blowing if it wasn't coming from two reckless partisans who egged on the mob that eventually stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6."
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