DHS official ‘removed’ after protester, journalist ‘monitoring’

The head of a Department of Homeland security (DHS) office that reportedly compiled intelligence reports on journalists and protesters amid the continuing demonstrations in Portland, Oregon has been reassigned, according to US media.

Brian Murphy, who headed the Intelligence and Analysis Office, has been reassigned within the department, the Washington Post, Politico news site, and ABC News reported on Saturday, all citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

The office had compiled “intelligence reports” on journalists covering the nightly protests in Portland using a government system meant to share information about suspected “terrorists” and violent actors, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

A spokesman for DHS on Friday said Secretary Chad Wolf discontinued collecting “information involving members of the press” after the newspaper published the report.

“In no way does the Acting Secretary condone this practice and he has immediately ordered an inquiry into the matter,” the spokesman said in a statement. “The Acting Secretary is committed to ensuring that all DHS personnel uphold the principles of professionalism, impartiality and respect for civil rights and civil liberties, particularly as it relates to the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

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