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DHS Intelligence Group Short on Smarts

Experts tapped by DHS secretary apparently don’t have a clue.

On Sept. 19, beleaguered Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, who many in Congress believe should be impeached, announced he was establishing the Homeland Intelligence Experts Group. With the US southern border so porous, having a group of intelligence experts to identify shortfalls in security and terrorist activities might seem a decent initiative. Yet, as always, the devil is in the details.

Intelligence Group Lacks Credibility

This “experts group” suffers from the participants chosen. Mayorkas isn’t held in the highest esteem, and a couple of his appointments share equally disreputable resumes. John Brennan and James Clapper, who served prominently in President Barack Obama’s administration, caught the attention of Reps. August Pfluger (R-TX), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence, and House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green (R-TN) sent a letter to Mayorkas, explaining:

“Multiple members of this newly-formed group, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, signed a discredited public statement on October 19, 2020, that incorrectly implied the New York Post’s reporting about Hunter Biden’s political influence peddling was the product of Russian disinformation. That statement was used by various media organization and social media businesses to downplay and censor the Post’s reporting before the 2020 presidential election.”

In addition to the concerns over the selection of Brennan and Clapper for the experts group, the chairmen’s letter also requested documents “between and among officials or employees of the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office of the President” to determine what prompted the establishment of the group. Furthermore, the letter asked for staff correspondence to shed light on the criteria used in the selection process. In addition to Clapper and Brennan, Paul Kolbe, former senior intelligence officer at the Central Intelligence Agency, has been tapped to serve, yet he was one of those who signed the discredited and now infamous letter calling the Hunter Biden laptop “classic” Russian disinformation.

Senator Tells Mayorkas to Ditch the Experts Group

Some Republicans in the US Senate aren’t any happier with Mayorkas. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) also wrote Mayorkas expressing incredulity at the makeup of the experts group. Clearly perplexed, Hawley stated in his correspondence:

“It is therefore baffling that your department would regard these individuals as having any remaining credibility with respect to intelligence matters. Enlisting the support of these discredited officials as the nation prepares for the 2024 presidential election appears to signal that DHS will continue its attempts to censor speech that is inconvenient to the current Administration … Therefore, I urge you to immediately terminate this so-called ‘Intelligence Experts Group.’”

GettyImages-1674116961 Alejandro Mayorkas

Alejandro Mayorkas (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The new advisory group at DHS is not the first time Mayorkas has fumbled in setting up an organization with questionable intent and membership. “The intelligence panel follows an earlier bungle by Mr. Mayorkas, who last year announced a disinformation panel led by a woman who herself had a history of posting misleading information online,” Stephen Dinan reported in The Washington Times. Populating a group to provide intelligence advice on sensitive domestic security matters with those suspected of pushing disinformation does not bode well for the credibility of products the group might produce.

This development does not build confidence in the Biden administration’s capability to keep America safe. The US southern border is wide open, with more than 2.4 million immigrants having crossed illegally so far in 2023. DHS as a first line of defense has proven a wasted effort. Not having a secure border is the most dangerous threat to Americans. Entrusting our security to a group with disreputable reputations can only make things worse.

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