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 DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis Brian Murphy was removed from his position for compiling intelligence reports on journalists. Jasmine Razeghi reports on the latest developments of this controversial issue.

This weekend, acting undersecretary for the DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis Brian Murphy was removed from his position and reassigned to an administrative support role. 

The call for his reassignment came from acting secretary of DHS Chad Wolf after news broke from The Washington Post that DHS compiled intelligence reports on journalists who leaked public and unclassified documents about the department’s operations in Portland. 

Shortly after the news broke, Wolf called on Murphy’s office to cease all monitoring of journalists and for an investigation. 

Investigation Underway Weeks Before Murphy’s Reassignment

Another report from The Washington Post showed that DHS tracked Telegram messages between protesters in Portland. Previously, Brian Murphy denied allegations that DHS had access to the protesters’ devices and messages.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff noted on Saturday that The Post’s reports rose alarm and that an investigation was already underway weeks before Murphy’s reassignment. 

The Department of Homeland Security was recently under fire as viral videos show their officers arresting protesters for no apparent reason. Additionally, the DHS forces had no form of identification on their military clothing. Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli told NPR that he acknowledged DHS officers picked people up in unmarked vehicles but said that these actions kept officers safe. 

UN Human Rights Spokesperson Liz Throssell noted in late July that the DHS behavior in Portland “may give rise to arbitrary detention and other human rights violations.”

Last week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that federal troops sent by the President would withdraw. Federal officials responded by stating that they would not leave but instead remain on standby should they be needed.