Chairmen Green, Pfluger Slam Mayorkas’ Appointment of Clapper, Brennan to DHS Intelligence Experts Group
September 22, 2023
“Your decision to appoint members to this group who have demonstrated political bias suggests misplaced priorities”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) and August Pfluger (R-TX), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence, slammed the appointment of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, and former Associate Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice Tashina Gauhar to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) newly-formed Homeland Intelligence Experts Group, which was created to provide advice to DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A). In 2020, Brennan and Clapper incorrectly implied the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s political influence peddling was the product of Russian disinformation, while Gauhar was involved in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) now-discredited probe into baseless allegations that former President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.
In response, Chairmen Green and Pfluger sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in an effort to conduct oversight of the Office of I&A’s commitment to accurate intelligence sharing, as well as demanding information regarding the establishment and selection process of this group.
Read more in the Daily Caller.
In the letter, the Chairmen state, “The Committee on Homeland Security (Committee) is conducting oversight of the Department of Homeland Security’s (Department) decision-making and creation of its Homeland Intelligence Experts Group, which raises serious concerns about the Department’s impartiality and objectivity. On September 19, 2023, the Department announced the establishment of a Homeland Intelligence Experts Group ‘to provide advice and perspectives on intelligence and national security efforts to the [Department’s] Office of Intelligence and Analysis [I&A] and the [Department’s] Office of Counter Terrorism Coordinator.’ The composition of this ‘Experts Group,’ includes members who have been criticized for demonstrating political bias.”
The Chairmen continue, “Multiple members of this newly-formed group, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, signed a discredited public statement on October 19, 2020, that incorrectly implied the New York Post’s reporting about Hunter Biden’s political influence peddling was the product of Russian disinformation. That statement was used by various media organizations and social media businesses to downplay and censor the Post’s reporting before the 2020 presidential election. Another member of this newly-created group, then-Associate Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice Tashina Gauhar, was extensively involved in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into baseless allegations that former President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia. These are just a few notable examples of concerning actions by some of the members appointed to the group that call into question the group’s neutrality.”
The Chairmen conclude, “The Department must ensure that it demonstrates impartiality in all homeland security matters especially at a time when I&A faces numerous challenges to complete its mission to help keep the homeland safe. Your decision to appoint members to this group who have demonstrated political bias suggests misplaced priorities. Rather than focus on addressing the catastrophic border crisis or I&A’s shortcomings to live up to its original purpose to equip the Homeland Security Enterprise, especially, our State, Local, Tribal and Territorial law enforcement partners, with timely intelligence and information, these actions appear to politicize the Department’s homeland security mission. Therefore, we write to request that you produce the following documents and information as soon as possible[.]”
Read the full letter here.
The House Committee on Homeland Security has continued to conduct oversight of DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. For example, following reports of possible violations of Americans’ civil liberties in the office’s Overt Human Intelligence Collection Program, Chairmen Green and Pfluger were joined by Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability Chairman Dan Bishop (R-NC) on a letter to Secretary Mayorkas in March, demanding answers and a Congressional briefing on the department’s possible overreach of its statutory mandate. This investigation followed a February letter from the Committee, which requested a status update and any preliminary findings regarding DHS’ ongoing “360” review of the office. The Committee continues to engage with the department on our important oversight work concerning I&A.