Former Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf delayed and changed an intelligence report warning of Russian interference in the 2020 election due to concerns it would “hurt” former President Trump, according to an investigation by the department’s inspector general office.
The watchdog’s office said it interviewed an individual in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) “who told us the Acting Secretary asked the product be held because it made President Trump look bad and hurt President Trump’s campaign — the concept that Russia was denigrating candidate Biden would be used against President Trump.” The product, titled “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of US Candidates to Influence 2020 Electoral Dynamics,” was first being drafted in April 2020 after then-candidate Biden had assumed frontrunner status in the Democratic primary.
That summer, the investigation found, employees in the department’s Intelligence and Analysis office “changed the product’s scope by making changes that appear to be based in part on political considerations, raising objectivity concerns and potentially impacting.”
“Additionally,” it continues, “the Acting Secretary participated in the review process multiple times despite lacking any formal role in reviewing the product, resulting in the delay of its dissemination on at least one occasion.”
These findings align with a whistleblower report from Sept. 2020 filed by Brian Murphy, the former principal deputy undersecretary in DHS’s I&A office. Murphy alleged that DHS leaders including Wolf, former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and senior official Ken Cuccinelli not only minimized Russian influence in the election, but fabricated data relating to the U.S.-Mexico border wall and downplayed the threat of white supremacy. Murphy also claimed retaliation by his superiors after he raised these concerns.