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‘Like A Corrupt Government’: DHS Employees Fear Their Agency Is Breaking The Law With Domestic Intel Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been collecting domestic intelligence, including through interviews with people held in migrant detention centers, jails and prisons, sparking widespread concern among DHS employees that the program was illegal, according to documents obtained by Politico.

The Overt Human Intelligence Collection Program collected domestic intelligence for years, allowing officials to seek voluntary interviews with nearly anyone in the U.S., including incarcerated people, whom officials could access without first going through their lawyers, according to Politico. Employees were widely concerned about the legality of the program’s activities and feared retribution for speaking out about mismanagement and abuse; some employees wanted DHS to cover liability insurance.

The program stopped conducting direct interviews with incarcerated people in 2022, but concerns remain about the agency collecting domestic intelligence through direct interviews with American citizens, according to Politico. Carrie Bachner, former senior legislative adviser to the DHS undersecretary for intelligence, said the program evoked a history of scandals involving similar efforts by the FBI.

“I don’t know any counsel in their right mind that would sign off on that, and any member of Congress that would say, ‘That’s OK,’” she told Politico. “If these people are out there interviewing folks that still have constitutional privileges, without their lawyer present, that’s immoral.”

One employee said the leadership of the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis “is ‘shady’ and ‘runs like a corrupt government,’” according to documents reviewed by Politico.

The DHS did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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