Progressive Caucus co-chair: Reported oversight change in intelligence office 'seems a bit...fascist'

Progressive Caucus co-chair: Reported oversight change in intelligence office 'seems a bit...fascist'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanOvernight Defense: Nearly 500 former national security officials formally back Biden | 40 groups call on House panel to investigate Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds 40 groups call on House panel to investigate Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers MORE (D-Wis.), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, on Monday blasted reports that acting Deputy Homeland Security Director Ken Cuccinelli had pushed for reduced internal oversight for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), calling the move “fascist.”

“The fact that someone with the title of ‘Sr. Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary for the Dept. of Homeland Security’ is allowed to do anything—let alone rubberstamp the surveillance of protesters & journalists—seems a bit...fascist?” Pocan tweeted, referencing Cuccinelli’s lack of Senate confirmation.

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Pocan linked to a Politico report that Cuccinelli approved a proposal by the agency's intelligence unit to limit a departmental watchdog’s oversight of its work. Before the change, the office was required to obtain the watchdog’s permission to share intelligence with law enforcement partners.

Since the rule change, the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has reportedly compiled reports on journalists covering unrest in Portland, Ore. DHS said in a statement that acting Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfSchiff to subpoena top DHS official, alleges whistleblower deposition is being stonewalled The Hill's 12:30 Report: Ginsburg lies in repose Amnesty International USA calls for halt on Chad Wolf nomination MORE has ordered an investigation and end to the practice.

The chairpeople of the House Committee on Homeland Security, as well as the chair of its intelligence subcommittee, asked acting Intelligence and Analysis chief Brian Murphy for further information in a letter dated July 31.

“These developments raise numerous questions about the nature of your change to the definition of violent actors that should be utilized to review protest activity in Portland, including whether political considerations, rather than facts, spurred this change, and whether political considerations are driving the production of certain intelligence assessments at I&A,” wrote Reps. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonUnderwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel House panel pans ICE detention medical care, oversight Senate to hold nomination hearing for Wolf next week MORE (D-Miss.) and Max RoseMax RoseLawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep Navy cancels training flight over NYC on 9/11 after criticism MORE (D-N.Y.).

The Hill has reached out to DHS for comment.