A 2020 DHS report on election interference was manipulated by a Trump ally: DHS IG’s Office

A 2020 DHS report on election interference was manipulated by a Trump ally: DHS IG’s Office

During 2020’s presidential race, national security experts were warning that the Kremlin and its allies would try to interfere in that election just as they had interfered in the 2016 election — and a report was released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The DHS Inspector General’s Office, in 2022, has been investigating that report; the results of the recent DHS IG probe were released on Tuesday, May 3, and according to DHS IG Joseph V. Cuffari, the 2020 report was improperly manipulated.

Reporters Courtney Bublé and Patrick Tucker, in Defense One, explain, “A top Trump Administration official delayed and altered an intelligence product about the upcoming 2020 presidential election, leading to the perception that it was changed to help Donald Trump’s reelection bid, according to a federal watchdog.”

Bublé and Tucker note that the newly released DHS IG report is titled “DHS Actions Related to an I&A Intelligence Product Deviated from Standard Procedures” and “reflects reporting by ABC News from back in September 2020.”

On September 2, 2020, ABC News reported that in early July 2020, DHS had “withheld publication of an intelligence bulletin warning law enforcement agencies of a Russian scheme to promote ‘allegations about the poor mental health’ of former Vice President Joe Biden.”

In 2020, the false and ageist claim that Biden was mentally impaired was pushed by Kremlin-operated media in Russia as well as by their useful idiots in far-right MAGA media in the United States.

In its newly released report, the DHS IG’s Office explains, “The acting secretary participated in the review process multiple times despite lacking any formal role in reviewing the product, resulting in the delay of its dissemination on at least one occasion. The delays and deviation from (the Office of Intelligence and Analysis) standard process and requirements put (the office) at risk of creating a perception of politicization.”

Bublé and Tucker note that in April 2020, DHS’ Cyber Million Center started drafting a report titled “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of U.S. Candidates to Influence 2020 Electoral Dynamics.”

“Aiming to inform state and local governments,” Bublé and Tucker explain, “the analysts followed the Office of Intelligence and Analysis’ drafting and editing policies, the IG found. But when DHS leaders reviewed the report at a July 8, 2020 meeting, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf — who is referred to by his title but not explicitly named in the IG document — determined that DHS should hold the report because it would embarrass President Trump, according to a whistleblower complaint noted in the IG report.”

Bublé and Tucker add, “The report was delayed for months. A Cyber Mission Center official added a ‘tone box’ — a new section of text — that said China and Iran were trying to derail Trump’s reelection. When DHS investigators asked why the material outside of the original scope of the report was added, the official didn’t have a good answer.”

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