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Homeland security watchdog whistleblower inquiry lacked substance

by | Aug 2, 2021 | Whistleblower Protection

Former intelligence chief Brian Murphy made national news in the fall of 2020 when he went public about the Trump administration deliberately withholding reports about the rising tide of domestic extremism and Russia’s ongoing interest in influencing national elections. In light of the January 6 Capital Riot, this warning proved to be prophetic. He also stated that the DHS also encourage him to distort his reports to better align with the former president’s political views.

Despite Murphy raising concerns internally on multiple occasions before going public, higher-ups reassigned him from principal deputy undersecretary in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis to a lesser role in August of 2020, which led to his filing a whistleblower complaint.

Last fall, the acting head of DHS denied that Murphy was punished for his actions, but it has now come to light that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under Trump delayed following up on Murphy’s whistleblower claims and then did so with a minimum of effort to get to the truth of the matter. With new complaints of the DHS’s lackluster investigation of Murphy’s removal, it appears that that initial whistleblower complaint’s impact may go even further than anticipated back in 2020.

A mess for Biden to clean up?

President Trump appointed several inspector generals during his administration that remain on the job under the Biden administration. The former president installed them because he believed he was treated unfairly by predecessors – in doing so, many assert that he politicized what were supposed to be unbiased government watchdog organizations.

The current president could replace these Trump appointees, but the current administration is trying to avoid the ongoing politicization of formerly independent agencies. As more information comes out about Trump appointees’ actions under that president, the Biden administration may have little choice but to investigate and possibly make changes if there are instances of wrongdoing or ethical lapses.