The Director of Homeland Security of the Department of Justice, John Demers, must testify before Congress
The top national security official of the Department of Justice, John Demers, resigned from his position after the scandal that involves him in an alleged plot by which the department secretly collected personal information of Democratic congressmen and their families, as well as members of the press, as a weapon to hunt down the political enemies of then-President Donald Trump.
Under the direction of two attorneys general, Jeff Sessions and William Barr, Justice, investigating leaks to the press of classified government information, seized personal information, including phone records, emails, and addresses, among others, of at least two Democratic members of Congress and their families. He also obtained private information from journalists from ‘The New York Times’, CNN and ‘The Washington Post’.
In addition, it imposed gag orders on the editorial executives of the press media, which prevented them from revealing to their journalists the seizure of personal information by the government. Although it is common for the Department of Justice to investigate leaks to the press of classified information to identify the possible perpetrators, it is extremely unusual to collect in secret personal information of members of the press and legislators. But what elevates the measure to the level of extremely aggressive was preventing lawyers and executives from ‘The New York Times’ and CNN from revealing to their employees, and even their editors, the seizure of your personal information.
The comprehensive action by the Justice Department represents an unprecedented effort by an administration to prevent leaks to the media at a time when former President Trump was under investigation for his ties to Russia.
Demers’ resignation, which will take place next week, is the first to come as a result of the scandal and it occurs after criticizing the democrats that prosecutors investigating leaks of government classified information were under his supervision, as director of the Homeland Security division, although Demers is not believed to have been personally involved.
The department’s inspector general announced an investigation into the matter on Friday, and Demers has been subpoenaed by the House of Congress to testify in his investigation into the scandal. Other congressmen have also asked Demers to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Although Demers was not responsible for approving the investigation orders, whose consent corresponds to the attorney general, he would have been notified about such measures, and informed about the status of the process. It is not yet clear who approved the request to seize Google’s email records belonging to journalists from ‘The New York Times’, but everything indicates that former Attorney General William P. Barr was responsible for the decision to seize the personal information of journalists from CNN and ‘The Washington Post’, in 2020.
A Justice Department spokesman declined last week to confirm whether Barr or his successor, former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, approved that measure. The members of the department in charge of investigating the leaks The press in 2018 also obtained data from Microsoft and Apple regarding Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, including Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell.
The Justice Department also imposed a gag order technology companies by preventing them from informing their users about the seizure of their data.
Demers, appointed during the Trump administration, remained in the post as part of Biden’s transition in the Justice department until the end of June, when his departure was planned.
The Trump administration’s investigation plot has been harshly condemned by Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff and other Democrats who called it an attack on the rule of law and a dangerous politicization of the Department of Justice. “One of the most dangerous attacks on democracy carried out by the former president,” Schiff said in a statement last week.
Joseph Biden, United States, 2020 US Elections