Brian Murphy is a career Department of Homeland Security official and whistleblower, who alleges that DHS and Citizenship and Immigration Services leadership lied to congress and twisted intelligence to match with President Trump‘s messaging on antifa and Russian election meddling.
Murphy’s complaint to the DHS inspector general was made public on Wednesday, September 9. It can be read in full here. In it, he accuses former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, acting Secretary Chad Wolf and acting CIS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli — both unconfirmed Trump nominees — of inappropriate acts and of taking retribution against him for speaking up.
Murphy served as Principal Deputy Under Secretary in DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, where he oversaw intelligence activities and was the chief advisor to Wolf and Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grennell, according to the complaint.
The document also notes that he served in the U.S. Marine Corps between 1994 and 1998, leaving with an honorable discharge as 1st Lieutenant. He then worked as a special agent at the FBI
The complaint was first reported by CNN’s Zachary Cohen.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Murphy Alleges Former DHS Secretary Nielsen Perjured Herself Before Congress When Testifying About the Mexican Border Wall
According to Murphy’s complaint, when Nielsen testified before Congress about the need for Trump’s long-desired Mexican border wall, she deliberately misinformed the relevant committee about the number of “known or suspected terrorists” thought to be crossing the border.
Although Nielsen was briefed before her December 20, 2018, testimony on the difference between KSTs and “special interest aliens” — meaning a category of migrants coming from countries where there is a terrorism threat, but who aren’t individually suspected of being terrorists — she gave the committee a false number of KSTs suspected of crossing the border.
Aaron Blake, in a Washington Post op-ed in January, pointed out that Nielsen was pushing bad information on suspected terrorists crossing the border as well.
“An SIA does not constitute a KST,” Murphy’s complaint reads, adding that after her testimony, DHS put disseminated a document called “Myth/Fact: Known and Suspected Terrorists/Special Interest Aliens,” which contained more false information.
Complaint: Kirstjen Nielsen provided in congressional testimony inaccurate and highly inflated claims of known or suspected terrorists entering the U.S. through the border, which the complaint states constituted a "knowing and deliberate submission of false material information." https://t.co/9alng1aZR2
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 9, 2020
Murphy personally briefed Nielsen before her next testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security. According to the complaint, he informed her that only 3 KSTs were suspected of crossing the southwest border — not the 3,755 she claimed in her earlier testimony.
Wolf — then chief of staff at DHS — and others advised Nielsen to steer away from the actual numbers in her testimony and emphasize that “any KST crossing was one too many.” Murphy claims he was then removed from the meeting by Wolf, and he then filed a complaint.
“It is Mr. Murphy’s good faith belief that the testimony Secretary Nielsen delivered on March 6, 2019, regarding KSTs, again constituted a knowing and deliberate submission of false material information,” the complaint read.
2. Murphy Alleges that DHS Leadership Also Censored & Bungled Intelligence on Russian Election Interference — Then Ordered Him to Shift His Attention to China & Iran, Rather Than Russia
In another part of his complaint, Murphy accuses Wolf, Nielsen, Cuccinelli and then Acting Deputy Director for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Kash Patel of “attempted censorship of intelligence analysis and improper administration of an intelligence program” on Russian interference in U.S. elections.
Former Secretary of Homeland Security for Intelligence David Glawe testified to a Congressional committee in September 2018, confirming Russian interference in 2016, and was “challenged” by Republican committee members afterward, Murphy alleged.
Nielsen then warned Glawe that Trump wanted him fired, but she and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly convinced Trump to “give [him] another chance,” according to the complaint. Glawe would later make a protected disclosure to oversight officials about improper administration of an intelligence program, the details of which remain classified, Murphy claimed.
Between March 3 and April 14, 2020, Murphy also raised concerns of impropriety regarding intelligence on a Russian disinformation effort in the United States. After this, he alleges, Wolf told him to stop giving intelligence assessments on Russian efforts and concentrate on China and Iran. Murphy refused.
In July, according to Murphy’s complaint, Wolf met with him and told him his intelligence on Russian disinformation and election interference efforts would be “held” because it “made the President look bad.”
The final intelligence product was misleading and tried to shift focus from Russia to China and Iran, to suit Trump’s political messaging, Murphy alleges.
3. Murphy’s Homeland Threat Analysis Was Also Changed to Focus on Antifa Rather Than Russia & White Supremacist Terror to Line Up With Trump’s Messaging, Per the Complaint
Murphy also alleged that intelligence reports on threats against the homeland were held and censored over concerns that intelligence on threats from Russia and White Supremacists would make Trump look bad.
In May and June, Cuccinelli told Murphy that he needed to make sections on White Supremacist terror look less severe and add in a section on “violent ‘left-wing’ groups” like demonstrators aligned with antifa. Murphy refused, telling Cuccinelli that would be censorship and improper administration of an intelligence program, according to the complaint.
Wolf and Cuccinelli moved to block the final report entirely in July, and it still has not been released, CNN reported.
Murphy told the OIG that the final report will “more closely resemble a policy document, with references to antifa and ‘anarchist’ groups,” rather than an “intelligence document,” as it was intended, per the complaint.
Riot gear or military control is not necessary because ANTIFA & other Wacko groups of Anarchists aren’t present to cause trouble. Incredible people. Thank you Maine! https://t.co/KGOcoQORMg
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2020
Trump has consistently publicly framed antifa as a violent terrorist organization, despite the fact that no killings have been officially linked to left-wing groups linked to antifa, as Business Insider reported.
On multiple occasions, according to his complaint, Murphy was told by DHS officials to modify intelligence reports to make sure they lined up with Trump’s comments painting antifa as a menace.
4. Murphy Claims That He Was Threatened with Termination Several Times, Left Out of Important Actions & Eventually Demoted
Murphy faced serious reprisal for his multiple complaints and refusal to go along with altering intelligence reports, according to his complaint.
In 2018 and 2019, Glawe told Murphy that Wolf and others were trying to get him fired amid his complaints about Nielsen’s allegedly false testimony, according to the complaint.
When the 2020 Homeland Threat Analysis Murphy claimed was altered to suit Trump’s political message was redone and completed, he was left out of the process completely, he claimed: He was left out because he “made clear he would decline to manipulate intelligence for political reasons.”
Finally, on August 1, Murphy was demoted by Wolf to a smaller role in DHS’s management division, he said in the complaint. The demotion came immediately after Murphy disclosed that he was being told to change intelligence to help Trump politically.
Murphy is asking the OIG to recommend he be put back into his senior role at DHS and his demotion expunged from his record. Also, he asks that everyone who either retaliated or threatened to be officially reprimanded.
5. Adam Schiff Said Wednesday That His Committee Will Investigate, Saying the Activities Alleged ‘Put Our National Security at Risk’
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.
This puts our national security at risk. We will investigate:https://t.co/Z7npo3P6zv
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 9, 2020
Democrat Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that he was disturbed by the complaint and his committee would launch a probe.
“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 said. “This put our national security at risk. We will investigate.”
Heavy reached out to Ranking Minority Member Devin Nunes for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
We also reached out to Wolf at DHS for comment, but had not heard back as of Wednesday evening.