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July 31, 2020

Thompson & Rose Demand Documents from DHS After Intelligence Reports Compiled on Journalists

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Max Rose (D-NY), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, sent a letter to the Acting Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requesting documents regarding I&A’s role in the Department’s response to protests in Portland this month in the wake of several disturbing reports indicating that I&A’s intelligence work may be politically driven.  Recent media reports show that I&A has had a muddled understanding of the threats in Portland and may be preemptively designating violent actors in Portland as “Antifa.” Yesterday, a media report revealed that I&A was compiling and disseminating intelligence products on American journalists’ reporting, which is protected by the First Amendment.

“I&A must produce clear, valid, and unbiased intelligence and information—not driven by any political agenda,” wrote Chairs Thompson and Rose. “As the acting head of I&A, you have a duty to provide unvarnished assessments and intelligence both to the broader Intelligence Community and to state and local partners even if the assessments contradict the policy agenda of DHS’s senior leadership. The consumers of your intelligence expect that I&A will not shade the facts to suit a particular agenda. More broadly, the American public counts on you to have the courage to disagree with your peers and superiors in DHS when the truth demands it.”

“Further media reports on July 30, 2020, show that DHS is compiling ‘intelligence reports’ on American citizen journalists related to their reporting on the protests and DHS activities in Portland. This is a shocking misuse of the information-sharing apparatus meant to protect American communities.”

“These developments raise numerous questions about the nature of your change to the definition of violent actors that should be utilized to review protest activity in Portland, including whether political considerations, rather than facts, spurred this change, and whether political considerations are driving the production of certain intelligence assessments at I&A.”

Link to Letter

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