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Chairmen Green, Pfluger Demand Answers on Revamped DHS “Advisory Board,” Renew Concerns About Political Bias, Partiality

June 26, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) and Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX) sent a letter to now-impeached Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas questioning the apparent rebranding of the defunct “Homeland Security Experts Group” as the “Homeland Intelligence Advisory Board.” 
The previous group was disbanded after public outcry, oversight by the Committee, and a lawsuit following DHS’ appointment of two former intelligence professionals, James Clapper and John Brennan, who had falsely claimed that the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s political influence peddling was the product of Russian disinformation. The Chairmen express their concern over the potential political bias of the revamped board’s members and the serious challenges DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) faces in fulfilling its mission to help keep the homeland safe. Read the full letter here and excerpts below. 


Read more from Wallace White via The Daily Caller

In the letter, the Chairmen write, “The Committee on Homeland Security (Committee) is conducting oversight of the Department of Homeland Security’s (Department) Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), including the Department’s decision to form a seemingly rebranded Homeland Intelligence Advisory Board (Board), after previously disbanding the Homeland Security Experts Group (Experts Group) due to litigation. The Committee is concerned that the Department claims the new Board will represent ‘diverse perspectives’ and ‘without regard for political affiliation,’ while it seeks to include the ‘19 members of the Experts Group when constituting the Board.’ It is also troubling that you ‘exempted the Board from the public notice, reporting, and open meeting requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.’ These actions raise serious concerns about the Board’s lack of transparency to the Committee and the American public.
The Chairmen continue, “The Committee has concerns that participants in the disbanded-Experts Group, and newly-formed Board may provide biased contributions to I&A—possibly hindering efforts to provide useful and timely intelligence to relevant stakeholders, especially at a time when I&A faces serious challenges to complete its mission to help keep the homeland safe.”
The Chairmen conclude, “To assist the Committee with its continued oversight of the Department’s I&A and associated matters, please produce documents and information to satisfy the outstanding requests in the Committee’s September 21, 2023 letter. In addition, please provide to the Committee the following documents and information as soon as possible, but no later than 5:00 p.m. on July 9, 2024:

  1. All documents and communications, including but not limited to, e-mails, text messages, internal memoranda, and guidance, between or among officials or employees of the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office of the President, referring or relating to the establishment of the Homeland Intelligence Advisory Board, from January 1, 2024, to the present; and
  2. All documents and communications referring or relating to the Department of Homeland Security’s assessment of any conflicts of interest for each member of the Homeland Intelligence Advisory Board.” 

Today, Subcommittee Chairman Pfluger will lead a hearing to examine the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, with testimony from I&A Undersecretary Ken Wainstein.

In September 2023, the Chairmen demanded answers on the appointment of Clapper and Brennan to DHS’ newly-formed Homeland Intelligence Experts Group. Committee Republicans, led by Subcommittee Chairman Pfluger, later introduced legislation to block funding for the establishment of the group or the formation of any group, program, initiative, or other similar effort that is equivalent to the group.
Earlier this month, the Committee advanced bipartisan legislation aimed at bettering I&A training and transparency, including H.R. 8664, the “DHS Intelligence and Analysis Oversight and Transparency Act,” requires the Office of Intelligence and Analysis to conduct an annual audit of its information systems and bulk data in order to protect Americans’ civil liberties and privacy