Civics: Collecting information from Americans raises ongoing civil liberties concerns.

Betsy Woodruff Swan:

Carrie Bachner, formerly the career senior legislative adviser to the DHS under secretary for intelligence, said the fact that the agency is directly questioning Americans as part of a domestic-intelligence program is deeply concerning, given the history of scandals related to past domestic-intelligence programs by the FBI.

Bachner, who served as a DHS liaison with Capitol Hill from 2006 to 2010, said she told members of Congress “adamantly” — over and over and over again — that I&A didn’t collect intelligence in the U.S.

“I don’t know any counsel in their right mind that would sign off on that, and any member of Congress that would say, ‘That’s OK,’” said Bachner, who currently runs a consulting firm. “If these people are out there interviewing folks that still have constitutional privileges, without their lawyer present, that’s immoral.”

DHS Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Kenneth Wainstein, a former federal prosecutor who took the helm of I&A last June, said in a statement that his office is addressing its employees’ concerns. An I&A spokesperson provided POLITICO with a list of steps the office has taken since September 2020 to address internal complaints, including conducting a number of new trainings and hiring two full-time ombudsmen.