• Brian Murphy, a senior DHS official, alleges in a new whistleblower complaint that Trump administration officials had suppressed documents, altered intelligence reports and perjured themselves before Congress
  • Rep. Adam Schiff has invited Murphy to speak to the House Intelligence Committee Sept. 21
  • No comment yet from the Trump administration

A senior official at the Department of Homeland Security alleges he was ordered to stop investigating Russian election interference because it would make the president "look bad,” and suffered retaliation when he refused to comply.

Brian Murphy, former head of intelligence and analysis at Homeland, said in a whistleblower complaint filed Tuesday he was told by Acting Homeland Secretary Chad Wolf in May to stop investigating Russian interference efforts and instead focus on China and Iran. Wolf allegedly said the instructions came directly from Robert O’Brien, White House national security adviser.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf AFP / MANDEL NGAN

Murphy refused the order, saying “doing so would put the country in substantial and specific danger.” He said he was told continued investigation "made the president look bad."

In retaliation for his refusal, Wolf excluded him from subsequent meetings. A draft report that suggested threats from Russia, Iran and China were equal was completed without his knowledge and then leaked to the press. Murphy and Democratic lawmakers have called such equivalencies “misleading.”

Facebook and Twitter announced they had quashed a small Russian disinformation ring just last month with help from the FBI. The operation, which had links to the Russian government, was attempting to set up a news platform to heighten divisions in Europe and the U.S. Russia was found previously to have interfered with the 2016 election after developing a "clear preference for President-elect Trump." Intelligence officials have warned of 2020 election interference, as well.

A second document, a Homeland Threat Assessment, was completed and allegedly suppressed by Wolf with help from Acting Deputy Homeland Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. Wolf allegedly said the document would need to show white supremacists as less threatening and include more information about “left-wing” groups. After Murphy refused to make the changes, he was demoted.

The complaint also alleges former Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen perjured herself when she testified before Congress regarding the U.S. southern border wall. Murphy said she intentionally supplied incorrect data to make migrants seem like a more significant threat to national security, and when informed substantially fewer dangerous immigrants had come through than she claimed, Wolf said she should claim the information was classified if asked. When Murphy objected he was ejected from the meeting.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Murphy's complaint “outlines grave and disturbing allegations that senior White House and Department of Homeland Security officials improperly sought to politicize, manipulate and censor intelligence in order to benefit President Trump politically. This puts our nation and its security at grave risk.”

Schiff also said Murphy has been invited to sit before the committee for a deposition on Sept. 21. Homeland Security and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post.

“If true, these latest revelations cement a pattern of high-ranking Trump administration officials not only keeping law enforcement officials and the American people in the dark about assaults on our democracy, by corrupting intelligence processes to benefit the president politically," said Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign.