DHS Forms New Intelligence Advisory Board

Department of Homeland Security Seal | Image by christianthiel.net/Shutterstock
Department of Homeland Security Seal | Image by christianthiel.net/Shutterstock

The Department of Homeland Security is forming an intelligence advisory board after being forced to shut down a similar body that faced allegations of political bias.

DHS announced the creation of the Homeland Intelligence Advisory Board, which will consist of a 40-member advisory panel.

“The Board will provide information and advice to the Under Secretary and the DHS Counterterrorism Coordinator on homeland intelligence activities and issues, including those around operational adherence to the principles of privacy and civil liberties,” DHS said in a statement.

The board may include up to 19 members of the Homeland Intelligence Experts Group (HIEG), which the agency shuttered after it was demonstrated that most of the body’s members contributed to Democratic candidates. Several ranking members were involved in a report that claimed the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation, as reported by The Epoch Times.
HIEG was created last September but quickly drew America First Legal’s (AFL) attention. The law firm alleged that the group violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) because it did not maintain a diversity of opinions.
A lawsuit notes that the group was formed by “political allies of the Biden Administration. Most members have applauded the Administration’s decisions and fervidly condemned former President Trump’s America First approach to foreign policy. They have overwhelmingly donated to President Biden or other Democrats. Defendant Mayorkas selected members that are agreeable, not balanced.”

Through an agreement between AFL and DHS, the former group was set to be wound down, but DHS was given the right to form a new advisory board. Because members have not yet been announced, it is unclear if the new group violates FACA.

Among the potentially controversial members is former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, who were both allegedly involved in an attempt to kill the Hunter Biden laptop story published by the New York Post.

Additionally, Tashina Gauhar, former associate deputy attorney general for the Department of Justice, was part of the investigation into allegations of collusion between former President Donald Trump and the Russian government. Clapper, Brennan, and Gauhar were members of HIEG.

Reps. Mark E. Green (R-TN), chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and August Pfluger (R-TX), chair of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence, led the effort against HIEG, writing a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas shortly after the group was formed.

“Your decision to appoint members to this group who have demonstrated political bias suggests misplaced priorities,” the letter stated. Days later, Republicans introduced legislation to block funding of the group.

HIEG was dissolved on May 2, in what the AFL described as an “unqualified legal victory.”

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