The DHS reportedly created 'intelligence reports' on journalists covering the Portland protests who published leaked internal department information
- The Department of Homeland Security reportedly compiled "intelligence reports" on journalists covering the ongoing protests in Portland, a practice traditionally reserved for collecting information on suspected terrorists and violent actors, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
- The department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis distributed three Open Source Intelligence Reports, which included tweets from Mike Baker, a reporter for The New York Times, and Benjamin Wittes, the editor-in-chief of the blog Lawfare.
- The reports, obtained by The Post, detailed the number of likes and retweets each post received and listed that both reporters had "published leaked, unclassified documents about DHS operations in Portland," The Post reported.
- Former general counsels of the department said creating dossiers on unclassified internal leaks was "bizarre," so far as calling the decision "incredibly dumb."
The Department of Homeland Security reportedly created and disseminated "intelligence reports" on journalists covering the Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The practice is traditionally reserved for compiling information on suspected terrorists and violent actors, according to The Post report.The DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis compiled and distributed three Open Source Intelligence Reports, which included tweets from Mike Baker, a reporter for The New York Times, and Benjamin Wittes, the editor-in-chief of the blog Lawfare.
On July 26, Wittes tweeted a photo of an internal memo from the head of the department's Intelligence and Analysis office citing the reason behind escalating violence in Portland from "Violent Opportunists" (VO) to Antifa."
—Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) July 26, 2020Wittes also posted screenshots of another internal memo condemning department information leaks to journalists.
"The ongoing leaks related to our work in Portland remain of great concern as it distracts from our mission and creates opportunities for others to exploit this information for their own benefit," according to the memo, for which Wittes did not disclose the author.
—Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) July 25, 2020Baker, the other journalist, co-authored an article earlier this week reporting that the federal agents sent to Portland had a shaky understanding as to why there were deployed in the first place, citing an internal DHS memo.He tweeted an image of the unclassified memo that said the department had "low confidence in our assessment" of the roots of the protests.
—Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) July 28, 2020
Wittes tweeted Thursday that "it does not trouble" him that his tweets were shared internally, as they were "innocuous enough."
"What is troubling about this story is that I&A shared my tweets *as intelligence reporting,* that is, an intelligence arm of the government filed a report on a citizen for activity at the heart of journalism: revealing newsworthy information about government to the public," Wittes wrote in a follow-up post.John Sandweg, who formerly served as the acting general counsel at the DHS, said compiling intelligence reports on journalists "has no operational value whatsoever," calling the decision "incredibly dumb."
"This will just damage the intelligence office's reputation," Sandweg told The Post.
Steve Bunnell, who served as the department's general counsel under the Obama administration, echoed the sentiment, noting that the intelligence reports on internal leaks have "nothing to do with DHS's original mission.""To broadly disseminate an intelligence report, including to numerous state and local law enforcement agencies, about a DHS leak to a reporter strikes me as bizarre," Bunnell told The Post.
- Connaught Place to remain shut as farmers' tractor parade turns violent
- After violent clashes with police, farmers swarm Red Fort
- DMRC closed entry and exit gates of yellow, green, violet and blue lines in surge of farmers protest
- Delhi Police fires tear-gas shells on farmers near Akshardham temple and Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar
- Protesting farmers break barricades at Delhi borders, entering the national capital ahead of time