© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
DHS operates ‘shady’ secret domestic intelligence program that ‘runs like corrupt government,’ report finds
DHS Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Kenneth Wainstein (Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

DHS operates ‘shady’ secret domestic intelligence program that ‘runs like corrupt government,’ report finds

The Department of Homeland Security has been operating a “shady,” covert domestic intelligence program for years that one employee claimed “runs like a corrupt government,” a report obtained by Politico on Monday revealed.

The DHS program, called the Overt Human Intelligence Collection Program, operates out of the agency’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. For years, the program has granted officials the ability to bypass lawyers and conduct intelligence interviews with individuals held in local jails, federal prisons, and immigrant detention centers.

DHS officials are required to inform the individuals that they are conducting intelligence interviews and that their participation is voluntary. However, because the information revealed during the interviews could be used against the individual in court, circumventing lawyers sparked civil liberty concerns from legal experts and even some DHS employees.

One unnamed employee claimed that the I&A’s Office of Regional Intelligence “is ‘shady’ and ‘runs like a corrupt government,’” according to an April 2021 document reviewed by Politico.

The employee also expressed fear of retaliation for voicing legality concerns, stating, “If you speak out, you’ll find yourself on the SW border or in Portland, recalled by FOD HQ, or moved.”

“If HQ finds out that you’ve spoken to others outside the Division (e.g. OCG, Ombuds), you’ll get in trouble,” the employee added.

Some DHS employees who expressed concern over the legality of the operations requested legal liability insurance from their employer.

An Intelligence Community Climate Survey Analysis from fiscal year 2020 revealed that a “significant number of respondents cited concerns with politicization of analytic products and/or the perceptions of undue influence that may compromise the integrity of the work performed by employees. This concern touches on analytic topics, the review process, and the appropriate safeguards in place to protect against undue influence.”

That same survey found that “a number of respondents expressed concerns/challenges with the quality and effectiveness of I&A senior leadership,” which employees expressed included an “inability to resist political pressure.”

“The workforce has a general mistrust of leadership resulting from orders to conduct activities they perceive to be inappropriate, bureaucratic, or political,” the document stated.

Due to internal concerns, the DHS “temporarily halted” the program in 2022.

In a statement to Politico, DHS Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Kenneth Wainstein said, “The true measure of a government organization is its ability to persevere through challenging times, openly acknowledge and learn from those challenges, and move forward in service of the American people.”

“The Office of Intelligence and Analysis has done just that over the past few years. … Together, we will ensure that our work is completely free from politicization, that our workforce feels free to raise all views and concerns, and that we continue to deliver the quality, objective intelligence that is so vital to our homeland security partners,” Wainstein added.

Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?
Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →