Sep 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Schiff says DHS is blocking security clearances for whistleblower's lawyers

Adam Schiff

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday that the Department of Homeland Security is refusing to authorize security clearances for the lawyers of Brian Murphy, a whistleblower who alleged that top Trump officials directed him to stop providing intelligence reports on Russian interference because it "made the president look bad."

Why it matters: Schiff is leading an investigation into the alleged politicization of intelligence on issues like Russian interference and the threat of white supremacist violence. Schiff said the committee will delay its deposition of Murphy, whom he says DHS has blocked from reviewing classified documents, until Sept. 25 in order to give the agency "one last opportunity" to cooperate.

What they're saying: "It is impossible to escape the conclusion that the Department is purposefully hindering our oversight by preventing a witness from receiving proper legal representation, and denying relevant documents to both the witness and Congress," Schiff said in a statement.

  • "This comes as the Department refuses to make available other relevant witnesses on the record and produce documents to our Committee, and tries to unilaterally narrow the scope of our probe to prevent the Committee from investigating and independently substantiating the most serious allegations involving DHS leadership and the White House."
  • "Those allegations involve suppressing reporting on Russian interference in our election, misuse of intelligence resources to monitor protestors and journalists, and misrepresenting the threat of terrorism from our southern border."

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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