GOP reps demand Biden DHS cough up info on ‘biased’ panel featuring anti-Trump intel officials

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U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (DHS photo by Sydney Phoenix)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

Wallace White
Daily Caller News Foundation

Republican lawmakers sent a letter Tuesday to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding information on an intelligence advisory board, arguing the panel is at risk of political bias.

Republican Tennessee Rep. Mark Green, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, and Republican Texas Rep. August Pfluger, who chairs the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement and Intelligence, requested information from Mayorkas on the Homeland Intelligence Advisory Board, a newly-formed panel advising DHS on “homeland security intelligence” matters.

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The lawmakers said the new advisory board was a “seemingly rebranded” version of the disbanded “Homeland Security Experts Group,” which was shuttered in response to a lawsuit. The Experts Group was widely panned by conservatives and Republican lawmakers for the perceived political bias of its members, as it featured former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who both signed a October 2020 letter suggesting the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation.

“The Committee is concerned that the Department claims the new Board will represent ‘diverse perspectives’ and ‘without regard for political affiliation,’ while it seeks to include the ’19 members of the Experts Group when constituting the Board,’” the letter said. “It is also troubling that you ‘exempted the Board from the public notice, reporting, and open meeting requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.’”

The DHS announced the creation of the Homeland Intelligence Advisory Board in a May press release, stating that the board will “seek to include” all the members of the Experts Group. Moreover, the board is exempted from certain reporting requirements, which Green and Pfluger argued “raise serious concerns” about the board’s commitment to transparency.

The Experts Group was shuttered in response to a lawsuit filed by America First Legal (AFL), who also obtained documents revealing the group characterized supporting Trump, being religious and being a veteran were “indicators of extremists and terrorism.”

The lawmakers requested that DHS to provide “all documents and communications” between the DHS and Executive Office of the President regarding the new advisory board. It also requested that DHS disclose any conflicts of interest for each of the members of the new board.

“The Committee has concerns that participants in the disbanded-Experts Group, and newly-formed Board may provide biased contributions to [DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A)] —possibly hindering efforts to provide useful and timely intelligence to relevant stakeholders, especially at a time when I&A faces serious challenges to complete its mission to help keep the homeland safe,” the letter said.

DHS did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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