By Jonathan Levinson and Conrad Wilson, October 1, 2021
On the same day a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, the Department of Homeland Security received a damning internal report about its intelligence operations targeting racial justice protesters in Portland last summer.
It outlines how senior leadership pushed unfounded conspiracies about antifascists, encouraged staff to violate constitutional rights, and made spurious connections between protesters who engaged in criminal activity.
The report is an internal review focused on the agency’s Office of Intelligence & Analysis. It shows political appointees at DHS pressured career analysts to further the Trump administration’s political agenda. The report, made available Friday by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D- Oregon, found that in addition to attempting to politicize intelligence, senior DHS leaders pressured subordinates to illegally search phones. Open source intelligence collectors, who analyze intelligence pulled from publicly available sources, also created dossiers on protesters and journalists, despite those people having no clear connections to domestic terrorism or homeland security concerns.