Though Zaid stopped short of criticizing DHS, a House Intelligence Committee official took aim at the department for “putting up artificial roadblocks that are designed to delay and obstruct the committee’s investigation.”
“The committee has not rescheduled the deposition at this time, but DHS continues to impose needless requirements on Mr. Murphy for the purpose of delaying the processing of his lawyers’ clearances,” the official said.
Murphy’s 24-page complaint, delivered earlier this month to the House and Senate intelligence panels, described a series of alleged abuses by top DHS officials, including seeking to suppress intelligence about Russia because the reports would make “the president look bad.”
Murphy described over a dozen meetings in which he raised concerns with senior officials across government about his concerns. The intelligence community has publicly said that the Kremlin is attempting to interfere in the 2020 election, as it did in 2016, this time to denigrate Joe Biden.
Murphy also alleged that top DHS officials sought to downplay evidence of white supremacist violence and elevate examples of violence tied to left-wing extremists, in a bid to align with President Donald Trump’s public condemnations of antifa and the rioting that has occurred across the country.
Top White House and DHS officials have strenuously denied his allegations, noting that Murphy had been under scrutiny for his own alleged wrongdoing, citing reports that he used DHS intelligence tools to monitor journalists covering civil unrest in Portland.
A DHS spokesperson rejected the committee’s claim that it is obstructing the panel’s investigation.
“DHS is unaware of what ‘needless obstruction’ the committee majority is referring to,” said the spokesperson, Nate Madden. “DHS has agreed to process Mr. Murphy’s attorneys for access to classified information, but is still waiting for them to provide the necessary background information to complete that process.”
Asked about DHS’ claim that it is awaiting action from Murphy, Zaid said that was not the case.
“We responded immediately back to DHS Security last night with information and requests for clarification, but have not yet received any response,” he said. “For example, Mr. Murphy requires access to relevant classified information, to include secure computers, to facilitate why his legal team requires TS/SCI access. Only DHS can arrange for this to happen and we’re waiting for the Department to do so. We are willing to respond immediately to any DHS action that will enable Mr. Murphy to exercise his protected whistleblower rights.”
In addition to Murphy’s upcoming testimony, the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the department for documents relevant to Murphy’s complaint by Friday.