Schiff Subpoenas DHS for Testimony, Records Over Whistleblower Complaint

September 30, 2020 Updated: September 30, 2020

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, on Tuesday issued two subpoenas in a bid to compel testimony from a senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official related to a whistleblower complaint.

The pair of subpoenas (pdf) allege DHS officials are “unlawfully obstructing” his panel’s probe linked to the complaint, made by former Homeland Security Department intelligence chief Brian Murphy.

It seeks a public testimony from acting DHS intelligence chief Joseph Maher on Oct. 2 about accusations that the agency had meddled in intelligence reports for political purposes.

Schiff said he also had issued a subpoena to force the DHS to turn over “documents, communications, and other records” related to the committee’s probe of Murphy’s allegations.

“The Committee has an obligation to independently investigate and substantiate serious allegations against senior Department of Homeland Security and White House officials,” Schiff said Tuesday.

Last week, he had alleged that the department has been preventing Murphy accessing classified information ahead Friday’s testimony by “stonewalling” authorization of security clearances.

“After weeks, and in some cases months, of attempted accommodation with the Department, we were left with no choice but to issue two subpoenas today,” Schiff said in a statement Tuesday. “Simply put, the Committee will no longer tolerate the obstruction and attempts to run out the clock by the Department.”

A department spokesman said in a statement to The Epoch Times that Schiff’s claims about the agency “stonewalling his committee” or “obstructing the clearance process” are “completely false.”

“DHS is doing no such thing and Chairman Schiff, despite the obvious political theater of this subpoena, knows this,” the spokesman said. “In fact, the department has produced nearly 3,000 pages of documents and has provided two briefings and three transcribed interviews to date.”

The statement continues, “With last week’s bombshell reports reminding the nation that Chairman Schiff peddled the baseless Russia hoax for years, it should come as no surprise that he is willing to jeopardize and politicize national security to attack this Administration and this President for partisan gain.

“As Mr. Schiff has now admitted, he is arbitrarily seeking to rush his investigation to affect the election, apparently willing to risk national security to do so. But Chairman Schiff must be held to his own standard. He must not be allowed to “sacrifice the country’s national security in favor of his own personal or political interests.”

Murphy, who formerly served as the acting under secretary of the I&A, has alleged suppression of intelligence reports on Russian election interference, and has also claimed he was pressured by more senior officials to play down white supremacist activity. Schiff announced on Sept. 9 that a whistleblower had filed a complaint.

Murphy has also said acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told him in May to instead report on political interference threats posed by China and Iran and highlight the involvement of left-wing groups in domestic disorder.

He said he turned down several orders to either modify to alter intelligence products to back the administration’s agenda, and claims he was demoted in retaliation.

The DHS has denied Murphy’s allegations.

Reuters contributed to this report.