February 1, 2023

DHS watchdog says Trump’s agency appears to have altered report on Russian interference in 2020 election in part because of politics

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A review of the Inspector General of Homeland Security on April 26 by the DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis offers a grim picture of how Russia is dealing with intelligence regarding its intervention efforts in the United States. The department deviated from its standard procedure in editing reviews of Moscow. Target for 2020 presidential election.

The conclusion that Trump’s appointment seeks to reduce Russian interference in a major intelligence report is the latest example of how his aides managed to hate Russia with any information that Russia had. How is it helping the election prospects? According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump officials tried to avoid the issue during meetings and hearings, as they would become angry and upset when Russian intervention came to light.

The US intelligence community announced during the 2020 campaign that Russia was actively interfering in the election to weaken current candidate Joe Biden. At the time, Trump downplayed those conclusions and promoted false claims about Biden that were consistent with Russia’s misinformation efforts. The IG’s report dispels past suspicions that Trump’s appointments distorted some intelligence reports to promote Trump-friendly rhetoric.

The Watchdog, for example, found the then-acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf Despite not having a formal role in product reviews, he participated in the review process several times, which led to delays and may have helped to create the “idea” that political reasons The reviews were changed based on.

The report states: “We have decided not to suspend the transmission of any product as a result of the involvement of the Acting Secretary after the I&A has already been approved by the Mission Manager and circulated through advance notification. A minor incident occurred. ”

“Delays and deviations from I&A’s standard practice and requirements have put I&A at risk of creating the impression of being politicized. As can be seen, “it continues.

The report stems from previous allegations by the Trump administration of undermining Russian intervention. CNN First reported in September 2020. A Whistleblower complaint alleging that senior political appointments at DHS repeatedly instructed career officials to modify intelligence surveys in line with Trump’s agenda, reducing Russia’s efforts to intervene in the United States. Do

Wassel Bilour claimed that Wolff had instructed DHS officials to “stop providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian intervention” and, instead, about the activities of China and Iran. Focus your efforts on gathering information.

The scope of the DHSIG report was limited to the single intelligence report under discussion.

Initially, the IG found that the DHS Intelligence and Analysis Office had followed an internal drafting and revision process. The report is two pages long and deals with a “current Democratic presidential candidate” and Russian activities influencing the presidential election. According to the IG, it developed over time after receiving internal input.

The IG also followed the July 2020 meeting, cited by Citi Bilour, who claimed that Wolfe had asked for the product to be held because “it offended the president.”

According to the meeting notice obtained by the IG, a senior official wrote: “AS1 – will harm Potts – kill him according to his officials.” The official told the IG that the notes meant that the acting secretary had asked him to keep the product because it would hurt Trump and the authorities were referring to the people in the secretary’s possession.

The IG’s office interviewed Wolf, who declined to comment, adding that he had been asked to improve the product.

“I tried to position myself as one of my state and local partners who would be reading it and I couldn’t see where the product written on July 8 would have added value or They must have been given some knowledge that they could use. … The product was not well written, “the acting secretary told the IG’s office, according to the report.

The IG’s report said delays and setbacks, however, put the office at risk of creating the impression of being politicized. The IG recommended working with the Secretary’s Office and I&A oversight bodies to ensure that election reports are in line with policies and guidelines. I&A agreed with the recommendation.

Marshall Cohen of CNN contributed to this report.

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