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July 31, 2020

King, Intelligence Committee Colleagues Demand Answers on Homeland Security Investigating Americans Participating in Portland Protests

In letter, 7 Senators express concern about multiple press reports regarding domestic surveillance conducted by DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) and six of his colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) demanding they provide information to the Committee about the role that its Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has played in responding to the protests in Portland, OR. In the letter, the Senators pose a series of 25 questions to the department regarding its activities surrounding the protests, and request a response by August 6th. The full letter can be read HERE.

“We have grown increasingly concerned about the role and operations of the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) in particular, with regard to the protests in Portland, Oregon.  As a member of the Intelligence Community, I&A is obligated by statute to keep the congressional intelligence committees fully and currently informed of its operations.  Given the intense national as well as congressional interest in DHS activities related to protests in Portland and around the country, documents and other information related to I&A’s operations should be provided to the Committee pro-actively, and not merely in response to repeated requests or following revelations in the press,” wrote the Senators in the letter, which was addressed to Acting Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Intelligence and Analysis Brian Murphy.

Senator King has previously pushed back on the Administration’s aggressive suppression of peaceful protests. Earlier this month, he cosponsored legislation which would block the executive branch from deploying unidentified, unmarked federal forces against Americans, calling the federal actions unfolding in Portland “hallmarks of tyrannical regimes, not free societies.” Last month, he pressed U.S. Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt seeking answers regarding the actions of the U.S. Park Police to forcefully clear peaceful protestors from Lafayette Square on June 1st.

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