Acting Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf told “The Daily Briefing” Wednesday that the department withheld publication of what he called a “very poorly written” July intelligence report warning law enforcement agencies of an alleged Russian operation to spread rumors about Joe Biden’s mental acuity.
According to internal emails and a draft of the document obtained by ABC News, DHS withheld information about Moscow’s alleged plan to promote “allegations about the poor mental health” of the Democratic nominee, citing legitimacy concerns about the report’s sourcing.
“The report that you referenced was, at the end of the day, a very poorly written report,” Wolf told host Dana Perino. “I had questions about it when I talked to career officials in … the office that produced the report. They also had questions about it.
“They’re hard at work on rewriting that report, putting it in better context,” he said. “I hope to see that report out soon.”
The report in question, titled “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of US [sic] Candidates to Influence 2020 Election,” was submitted to the department for review on July 7, according to ABC News. The report was not intended for public access, but was set to be distributed to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies within the week.
A senior DHS official reportedly asked the department to “Please hold on sending this one out until you have a chance to speak to [Wolf],” according to an email obtained by ABC.
Asked why the report was never sent out, Wolf said his priority is to “make sure the information coming out of the department is first-rate.”
“Again, when we talk about reports out of DHS, this is the same office, unfortunately that I had concerns about in the beginning of August when they put out notices regarding members of the press and leaking information,” he said. “So this is a systemic issue that we’re trying to resolve here inside the department and we’ll continue to do that.
“We’ll continue also to talk about election security and calling out a number of these nation-state actors,” he added, emphasizing that the agency’s goal is to ensure “election infrastructure is safe and secure primarily from any cyber threats.”