Messages from a foreign state
Peer-Reviewed Politics

DHS Withheld Information on Russian Attacks from the Public. How it Happened is the Real Story.

DHS withheld a July intelligence bulletin calling out Russian attack on Biden’s mental health.

Not sharing information about a known foreign-state sponsored propaganda campaign is troubling, but it's all the more so because Trump's campaign has repeatedly engaged in a similar line of attack. Leaked emails have raised questions for which no good answers exist.

Understanding how it happened and why requires a bit of a journey through a sea of federal documents, but not to worry—we’ve collected those for you. 


The information was scheduled for public disclosure on July 9, 2020, but the July 7 email instructed the reader to speak with AS1 before release.

Now months past the planned immediate-release date, the bulletin has yet to circulate.



I’ll give you a hint. Before his current position, he worked as a lobbyist who intentionally replaced American workers by bringing in immigrants to work for less.


Isn’t that forbidden? Yes, but there’s a loophole—the loopiest of holes.


An employer can displace US workers if the immigrant has H1-B status, and a subcontractor employs them.  

As1’s Lobbying Clients



Lobbyists in High-Ranking Positions or working in violation of the President’s 2017 Executive Order Cracking Down on lobbyists

The President’s order forbids former registered lobbyists now working in the White House from participating in areas they had previously lobbied on for two years. Despite this directive, these men and women made their way through the revolving door and were previously lobbyists and now work in the Trump Administration or were previously in the Administration and work as lobbyists.

The placement conflicts with the President’s promise to “drain the swamp” and hire “the best people.” Still, AS1 is both a lobbyist and objectively unqualified, holding a BA in history. 


That Congress would approve such a candidate for one of the most critical offices in the nation is worrisome, but there’s a catch.


They didn’t


The Government Accountability Office, an independent, nonpartisan agency often called the “Congressional watchdog,” released a statement after it found that AS1 had been appointed illegally. He wasn’t the only illegal appointee either.  


Tweet Linked | Stephen Vladeck is the A. Dalton Cross Professor in Law at the University of Texas School of Law and recognized expert on federal courts, constitutional law, national security law, & military justice.







The most important voice is that of the children separated from their parents. We can overhear voices mocking the children. Propublica, which investigated and took the footage, estimated the separated kids to range from ages 1 or 2 to around 10 years. 


They are people

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Wolf has been undeniably busy. Another noteworthy action he took was changing the order of succession for the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. He does not have that power.


Still, the current administration used an unlawful change made by an unlawfully appointed official to unlawfully place yet another official, Ken Cuccinelli.


Cuccinelli also appears in the GAO report for the same reason as Wolf, an illegal appointment. Chairmen on the Committee for Homeland Security wrote of concern about still more abuses of power. 


The Committee for Homeland Security penned a letter condemning the violations of First Amendment rights and DHS’s collection of intelligence on American journalists who later suffered injuries. Such actions are something common in authoritarian regimes but unthinkable in the United States. 


Both Cucinelli and Wolf maintain their positions despite being unqualified, demonstrably unethical, and illegally appointed. Both display a willingness to push the limits of legality. Their actions have concerned watchdog organizationshuman rights organizations, and ally countries like Australia that opened an investigation after seeing live footage of violence against people screaming, “media!”


We used to be the country that did the investigating and protecting, not the one hiding our misdeeds.


We’re now the country that has to hope a citizen of a foreign country that will stand up for them is involved in some way or the truth will be hidden. | Blue backpack is Australian Amelia Brace who testified to abuse after screaming “media.”


The bipartisan “Rubio Report” from August 2020, details the actions Russia took in 2016 and that they are likely to take in 2020.  Rubio said upon releasing his report, “As we head towards the 2020 elections, China and Iran have joined Russia in attempts to disrupt our democracy, exacerbate societal divisions, and sow doubts about the legitimacy and integrity of our institutions, our electoral process and our republic.”

What Marco Rubio neglected to say is that our inaction and tolerance for foreign states undermining democracy is what invited new parties to the table. Russia is bolder than ever, and Russia is not the only country that has noticed we couldn’t play a game of telephone if our lives depended on it.


The most troubling part of withholding intelligence about the Russian attack on the public is the same reason they scheduled the information for immediate release. 



Forewarning helps us identify and defend against these kinds of attacks, attacks the administration has refused to take action to stop or condemn







The next chapter in this story will come shortly. A letter to the Inspector General of Homeland Security members of the Committee reads:


“To restore the faith of the American public in DHS, it is imperative that the DHS OIG swiftly investigate the matters referred to it by GAO. We request that you brief our Committees no later than September 4, 2020, on your office’s investigative plan. Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.”


Full letter below.


It will take a great deal many more steps than outlined in this report to restore this American’s faith in a government that has shown itself to be capable of anything. I used to believe that the truth prevailed, that goodness won out and that the good people would refuse to support abject immorality and abuse of power


—I no longer believe in such things.




Acting Secretary Wolf Condemns The Rampant Long-Lasting Violence In Portland | Homeland Security. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from
‘An Agency Gone Mad’: DHS Unleashes Personal Attack on GAO Employee Who Concluded Cuccinelli and Wolf Were Illegally Appointed. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2020, from
Chad Wolf Lobbying Profile • OpenSecrets. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from
CREW Requests Documents on Lobbyist Contacts at DHS, TSA and HUD – CREW. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from
DHS OIG re Wolf Cuccinelli.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from
DHS Restores New York To Trusted Traveler Program, Admits False Statements In Lawsuit. (n.d.). NPR.Org. Retrieved September 6, 2020, from
H-1B lobbyist for acting DHS chief? – POLITICO. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from
Kanno-Youngs, Z. (2019, October 29).
White House Finds Loophole in Search for Homeland Security Secretary. The New York Times.
Revolving Door: Chad Wolf Employment Summary | OpenSecrets. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from
Rubio Statement on Senate Intel Release of Volume 5 of Bipartisan Russia Report—Press Releases—U.S. Senator for Florida, Marco Rubio. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from
Shear, M. D. (2020, August 14). Top Homeland Security Officials Are Serving Illegally, G.A.O. Says. The New York Times.
The Senate Should Ask Chad Wolf About His Illegal Appointment. (2020, August 5). Lawfare.
Thompson, Maloney Urge DHS IG Review Homeland Security Actions Under Wolf, Cuccinelli | House Committee on Homeland Security. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from
Trump to nominate acting DHS Secretary Wolf for Senate confirmation | TheHill. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2020, from