When Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was confronted at a Senate hearing with former employee Philip Haney’s testimony that the agency “purged” terrorist-related information because it violated the civil rights of Muslims, Johnson said he had no knowledge of the incident and had never even heard of Haney.
But in January, Johnson was reported saying that he not only knew about Haney’s claim, he had read an article the retired DHS officer wrote in the Hill, the influential Capitol Hill newspaper.
The Detroit Free Press reported Johnson was asked about Haney’s claim after addressing a gathering of about 20 Muslim students at the University of Michigan at Dearborn.
The Michigan event was held one month after Haney disclosed on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show that a highly successful case he helped develop as a member of an advanced unit of the National Targeting Center was shut down by Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
Had the case been allowed to continue, Haney said, the San Bernardino attack in December might have been prevented.
The Detroit paper reported Jan. 13: “DHS has been criticized in recent weeks by a former employee, Philip Haney, who said that DHS shut down his investigation into the Deobandi religious network tied to San Bernardino. Asked about Haney’s complaints, Johnson said he did read Haney’s article in the Hill, but didn’t comment further on it.”
Since then, Haney’s claim has gained much wider attention, particularly with the publishing May 24 of his bestselling book, “See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad.”
The Department of Homeland Security’s awareness of Haney’s claims also is demonstrated by statements to Fox News. When “The Kelly File” interview aired Dec. 10, for example, Fox News said a DHS official responded, “There are many holes in Mr. Haney’s story,” but did not elaborate.
On June 28, Haney testified of the DHS “purging” before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Two days later, Cruz confronted Johnson with Haney’s testimony, asking him if it was accurate.
“I have no idea,” Johnson replied. “I don’t know who Mr. Haney is. I wouldn’t know him if he walked in the room.”
“So, you have not investigated whether your department ordered documents to be modified?” Cruz followed up.
“No, I have not taken the time to investigate what Mr. Haney says. No.” Johnson said.
Cruz then asked Johnson if it would concern him if Haney’s testimony was accurate.
“Senator, I find this whole debate to be interesting, but I have to tell you,” Johnson replied, “when I was at the Department of Defense giving the legal sign-off on a lot of drone strikes, I didn’t particularly care whether the baseball card said Islamic extremist or violent extremist. I think this is very interesting, but it makes no difference to me in terms of who we need to go after, who is determined to attack our homeland.
“I think this is all very interesting, makes for good political debate,” he continued, “but in practical terms, if we, in our efforts, here in the homeland, start giving the Islamic State the credence that they want, to be referred to as part of Islam, or some form of Islam, we get nowhere in our efforts to build bridges with Muslim communities.”
See Sen. Cruz question DHS Secretary Johnson:
At the June 28 hearing chaired by Cruz, titled “Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts to Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism,” Cruz told Haney that his testimony before the committee was “exceptionally important.”
“I commend both members of the media and the American public to examine your testimony closely, because you have described a systematic policy, indeed of scrubbing, sanitizing, erasing references to radical Islam,” Cruz said.
Note: Media wishing to interview the authors of “See Something, Say Nothing” can contact them here.
See a trailer for “See Something, Say Nothing”: