Schiff Delays Whistleblower Deposition 09/21 06:00
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says the committee is
scheduled to depose a Department of Homeland Security whistleblower on Friday,
pushing the closed-door testimony back four days due to a dispute with the
Trump administration over his appearance. A subpoena may be necessary, said
Rep. Adam Schiff.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says the
committee is scheduled to depose a Department of Homeland Security
whistleblower on Friday, pushing the closed-door testimony back four days due
to a dispute with the Trump administration over his appearance. A subpoena may
be necessary, said Rep. Adam Schiff.
Brian Murphy said in a whistleblower complaint this month that he was
pressured by more senior officials to suppress facts in intelligence reports
about Russian interference and other matters. He has indicated that he wants to
tell his story to Congress, but his lawyer said last week that he cannot appear
until he resolves issues with the department over access to information.
In a statement Sunday, Schiff said that the department has refused to
authorize security clearances for Murphy's lawyers and also is blocking Murphy
from reviewing "relevant classified documents" before the deposition. Schiff,
D-Calif., said the committee is prepared to "use all the tools available to us
to secure relevant testimony," including a subpoena.
"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.
Murphy's lawyer, Mark Zaid. said that his team has repeatedly requested the
access from the department and is still waiting for a response.
"We will not allow Mr. Murphy to be unprotected or lack effective legal
representation," Zaid said.
Murphy said in the complaint that he was pressured by senior officials to
suppress facts in intelligence reports that President Donald Trump might find
objectionable, including information about Russian interference in the election
and the rising threat posed by white supremacists. The department has denied
Murphy, a former FBI agent and Marine Corps veteran, also alleged that
senior DHS officials pressed him to alter reports so they would reflect
administration policy goals and that he was demoted from his post as principal
deputy under secretary in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis for refusing
to go along with the changes and for filing confidential internal complaints
about the conduct. He remains with the department in a different capacity.