Trump Appointee Altered Russian Meddling Report

NBC News reports:

A top Trump political appointee delayed a report on Russian election interference in the 2020 election in a way that created the perception that intelligence was politicized, according to a new report by the Department of Homeland Security watchdog.

The DHS inspector general report also found that employees of DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis made changes to the analysis of foreign election interference “that appear to be based in part on political considerations, potentially impacting I&A’s compliance with Intelligence Community policy.”

The report also found that the appointee, acting Secretary Chad Wolf, who is not named, “participated in the review process multiple times despite lacking any formal role in reviewing the product, resulting in the delay of its dissemination on at least one occasion.”

Defense One reports:

The report was delayed for months. A Cyber Mission Center official added a “tone box”— a new section of text—that said China and Iran were trying to derail Trump’s re-election. When DHS investigators asked why the material outside of the original scope of the report was added, the official didn’t have a good answer.

The watchdog’s account fits with a pattern of Trump administration officials who attempted to de-emphasize Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2020 election. In September 2020, then-National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien claimed that China had taken the most active role in interfering in the 2020 election, but offered no details or examples of how.