Official appointed to Jan. 6 committee oversaw intelligence office that chose not to act, report says

Joseph Maher, a senior department attorney, has been appointed to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. This has generated criticism due to his previous role overseeing a DHS intelligence office that didn’t act on warning signs.

Last year Maher oversaw the department’s Office of Intelligence of Analysis. That office is tasked with monitoring social media for threats and failed to warn law-enforcement agencies of a possible assault after the office scaled back its monitoring of online chatter in the lead-up to Jan. 6. Maher’s addition to the committee staff has upset some DHS officials, who have privately called for his removal, according to a department official. Others outside government are also publicly calling for Maher to be removed from the committee.

“He should be a witness on what did & didn’t happen at DHS leading up to & on Jan. 6. Full stop,” Olivia Troye, a Trump-era White House homeland security official, said on Twitter. Mark Zaid, a whistleblower attorney for a previous head of the intelligence office, also called for Maher to be removed. “How in the world do you hire someone who you are investigating?” Zaid said in an interview. “There were certain things that office was engaged in to monitor domestic extremists, and he stopped them.”

Zaid said that Maher also retaliated against his client, Brian Murphy, who previously led the intelligence office before he was ousted last year following reports that it collected information on protesters and journalists. Murphy filed a whistleblower complaint last year, alleging, among other things, that Trump-era officials had sought to water down threat assessments of white supremacists and play up concerns about far-left activists.

A bipartisan Senate report issued earlier this year found that Maher’s office shared no intelligence specific to Jan. 6, hindering law enforcement. The lack of reporting culminated in a now-infamous memo that the intelligence office sent the day before the Capitol attack. “Nothing significant to report,” read a Jan. 5 national summary sent to law enforcement across the country [WSJ]


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