Report: DHS Tracked Journalists and Protesters, Abused Intelligence Collection Process During Summer 2020 Portland Protests
January 7, 2022
Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security published a report detailing findings from its internal investigation into conduct by the DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis during the summer 2020 racial justice protests in Portland. DHS ordered an investigation after I&A was caught creating “intelligence reports” on journalists covering the protests in a manner similar to how the agency compiles information on terrorism suspects.
The report reveals that I&A published intelligence reports on journalists without satisfying the reasonable belief standard, aided in seizing devices without warrants and pressured employees to search those devices, and “attempt[ed] to controvert the raw intelligence collection process.” The report identifies several structural problems with I&A, including insufficient training and supervision and inadequate review of intelligence reports.
EPIC recently filed open government requests seeking information about government surveillance of the Summer 2020 #BlackLivesMatter protests. In a 2011 lawsuit, EPIC obtained documents about DHS use of social media monitoring against journalists and activists.