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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 PocanWatch Out: Progressives are eyeing the last slice of the budget Former Progressive Caucus co-chair won't challenge Johnson in 2022 Congressional Progressive Caucus announces new leadership team 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 WolfICE acting director resigns weeks after assuming post Ex-DHS chief says Trump bears some responsibility for Capitol riots: 'What he says matters' Security concerns mount ahead of Biden inauguration 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 ThompsonNew coalition aims to combat growing wave of ransomware attacks Acting DHS chief Chad Wolf stepping down Security boosted for lawmakers' travel around inauguration: report MORE (D-Miss.) and Max RoseMax RoseWe lost in November — we're proud we didn't take corporate PAC money COVID-19 is wild card as Pelosi faces tricky Speaker vote Sunday Yang files to open campaign account for NYC mayor MORE (D-N.Y.).

The Hill has reached out to DHS for comment.