Whistleblower’s attorney says her client was demoted to Homeland Security Dept. for political reasons

Attorney Mark Zaid in 2016 (Nikki Kahn / the Washington Post via Getty Images)
Attorney Mark Zaid in 2016 (Nikki Kahn / the Washington Post via Getty Images)

Interim Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf removed one of the top deputies from his post because he believed it would increase his chances of being appointed and confirmed as head of the department, a deputy attorney said on the Yahoo News podcast. “Skullduggery”.

“If I remove you, it will make me look better … because I want to be the candidate,” Wolf told deputy, Brian Murphy, according to Murphy’s attorney, Mark Zaid.

A DHS spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Zaid’s claim.

Murphy, who until last month served as DHS’s interim undersecretary for intelligence oversight, emerged this week as a high-ranking informant, claiming in a formal complaint filed with the department’s inspector general that Wolf had improperly ordered to downplay reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election because “they made the president look bad.”

The White House and DHS denied his account and claimed that Murphy, a former FBI special agent, was a “disgruntled” employee upset by his demotion by Wolf – and his transfer to an administrative position – to follow-up to reports that Murphy was collecting information on reporters’ social media posts. Murphy was accused of overseeing the creation of “intelligence reports” on reporters and protesters in Portland, Oregon. Subsequently, his division was also accused of creating similar intelligence reports on reporters reporting on the department’s intelligence-gathering practices.

But Zaid, responding to those claims on the “Skullduggery” podcast, offered a different account of Murphy’s actions and his demotion. He said the news on Murphy’s stock was inaccurate.

“What they were doing was monitoring how the Russians used news from US journalists and distorted it for disinformation purposes,” Zaid told Yahoo News. “Murphy says Chad Wolf specifically told him, ‘I know that’s not what you were doing. I know that’s what the office wasn’t doing. But if I remove you, it will make me look better … because I want to be the candidate. ‘”

Murphy, one of the senior officials to file a whistleblower complaint in recent memory, says he was punished for repeatedly refusing to improperly alter intelligence ratings.

“Wolf didn’t think Murphy did anything wrong, but Wolf is completely annoyed and angry about all the instances and instances where Murphy refused to follow his and White House instructions to cook books and politicize intelligence. So that gave him the opportunity to degrade him, “Zaid said.

Asked why Murphy didn’t come forward as a whistleblower in May – when he says he was first asked not to provide intelligence assessments focusing on Russian election interference – Zaid said Murphy waited because he hoped to resolve. the problem without becoming public.

“Have we ever seen an informant so publicly come out that he was so old?” Zaid asked. “We don’t, because most of the time they try to make the system work and get the other officials … to change their position.”

Zaid said Murphy faces potential retaliation and may not be employable at DHS for the foreseeable future, pointing out the risks he took in coming forward. He said Murphy should be commended for speaking, not attacked for taking several weeks to do so.

“He was willing because of the stature of his position – and there is no way to hide his identity – to come forward and say, ‘I think this is wrong,'” Zaid said. “We should commend it, because we want more officials to do it, rather than starting to wonder, ‘Well, why didn’t you do it before?'”

Murphy is expected to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on September 21.

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