Brian Murphy, a senior Department of Homeland Security official whose office compiled “intelligence reports” about journalists and protesters in Portland, has been removed from his job, the Washington Post reports. Murphy, acting undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, was reassigned to a new position. DHS’ Intelligence & Analysis Office (I & A) compiled Open Source Intelligence Reports about the work of two journalists who had published leaked department documents. In a separate intelligence report, the office also analyzed the communications of protesters. Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf ordered I & A to stop collecting information on journalists after the Post disclosed the activity.
Murphy had told Senate committee staff that his office did not collect, analyze or exploit information on the electronic devices or accounts of protesters. Murphy is a former FBI agent who worked on the bureau’s efforts to combat radicalization. Colleagues have described him as hard-charging, with a history of defying managers and bosses. Murphy tried to broaden the definition of violent protesters in Portland, in a way that some officials felt was intended to curry favor with the White House. In an internal memo, Murphy announced that the label “violent opportunists,” which his office had used to describe people who were attacking law enforcement personnel and property, would be changed to “violent antifa anarchists inspired.”