HOLLYWOOD HILLS—House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff asked the Department of Homeland Security to have high-level officials to testify about a whistleblower complaint alleging DHS leaders sought to censor certain evidence. 

Congressman Adam Schiff represents California’s 28th congressional district, which stretches from West Hollywood to the eastern border of Pasadena. He is in his 10th term as a congressman. He has served since 2001.

The whistleblower, Brian Murphy, was the principal deputy under secretary in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis. He was demoted to a position in the DHS Management Division. The complaint details Murphy’s allegations of abuse and retaliation by top deputy at the department, Ken Cuccinelli, and the acting secretary, Chad Wolf. He alleges that Cuccinelli and Wolf pressured him to alter intelligence assessments of foreign meddling in the 2016 election and violence by extremist groups.

In a letter to the DHS counsel, Schiff asked that attorneys for the whistleblower be granted expedited security clearances. This would allow Murphy to discuss concerns related to classified information about Russia when he appears before the panel for a deposition on September 21. He also requested to interview Matthew Hanna, Horace Jen, John Gountanis and Tyler Houlton.

The DHS Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Beth Spivey wrote that DHS “finds this expansion to be unreasonable under the timeframe and circumstances set forth, and inconsistent with the accommodations process afforded between congressional committees and the Executive Branch.”

Spivey added that the committee has not provided any explanation for its new sweeping inquiry. The letter lacks context as well as any mention of legislative purpose or authority; and is apparently unfettered in its scope”

“[This] reinforces our concern that the Department and its leadership are trying to conceal additional misconduct…The Department is trying to have it both ways by making only a select few witnesses available to answer a very narrow set of questions and selectively releasing a small amount of documents in an obvious effort to whitewash serious allegations of misconduct by DHS’s leadership, all while refusing to make available other documents and witnesses who can testify to a broader pattern of misconduct and politicization of intelligence,” said Schiff.