On Saturday, February 22, I received near simultaneous text messages from an old federal agent buddy and my boss that a dear friend had been found dead from a gunshot wound to the chest.
I could not believe it. I went to the Internet to search for any public reports to confirm this information, which I hoped would turn out to be some kind of horrible joke or “fake news.” I could find nothing.
Yet it was not a joke or fake news. As the weekend wore on, reports from legitimate news outlets, seemingly all conservative, began to trickle out that indeed, famed DHS whistleblower and patriot, Philip Haney, had been found dead near his vehicle in a wooded area near his home in California.
The investigation of Phil’s death continues, and I hope that Attorney General William Barr constitutes a team of special investigators from the federal law enforcement bureaucracy under his command to conduct an exhaustive, independent investigation of the circumstances of Phil’s death, given that Phil had exposed enormous treachery by the Obama administration to cripple our nation’s counterterrorism efforts.
While I do not question the competence of the Amador County, California sheriff’s office, Phil had earned the wrath of both the Deep State and Islamists across this country with the revelations about how his work in identifying Islamic terrorists had been obliterated on the orders of the Obama administration. As one of the founders of the Department of Homeland Security, and as a brilliant officer and analyst at the Customs and Border Protection service, Phil was credited with identifying 300 terror suspects.
Phil’s incredible abilities at suspect interrogation, document exploitation and pattern recognition analysis had made him an indispensable intelligence expert working on countering the threat to our homeland from political and militant Islam. His knowledge of both the practice and history of Islam was encyclopedic. Yet the reward for his service was to have the Obama administration order him in 2009 to delete 850 pages of database records about potential Islamic terrorists that he had spent many years developing in what Phil referred to as “the First Great Purge.”
The “Second Great Purge,” as Phil termed it, occurred in 2011, as the Obama administration started identifying and targeting for removal key subject matter experts on domestic militant Islam across the federal bureaucracy. Phil himself became the target of investigations by three separate federal agencies. Other subject matter experts, like Steve Coughlin, John Guandolo, Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley and other patriots who understood the threat of militant Islam to the United States and would have vociferously objected to the Obama administration’s next move were similarly targeted and driven out of government. That next move was the administration’s embrace of a perverse policy agenda which it termed “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE.
CVE fundamentally altered the US Government’s treatment and view of political and militant Islam. It went from treating its proponents as a threat needing to be countered with all the tools of law enforcement, to treating its adherents as people needing to be “understood,” partnered with and coddled by our government, in hopes of reforming their psychopathic tendencies. In foreign countries, which had embraced a similar philosophy, this policy is known as “Engagement and Dialogue.” It proved disastrous.
Phil persuasively argued that the CVE policies that the Obama administration pursued, including the destruction of Phil’s work that was ordered to be deleted, led to the government’s failure to stop the Islamist attacks in December 2015 on a San Bernardino Christmas party and in June 2016 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Simply put, as Phil frames it, the Obama administration ordered Phil to erase the dots that should have been used to connect these individuals and their organizations, particularly one called Tablighi Jamaat, as part of the Obama administration’s effort to sanitize the background of US Islamists with whom it wanted to engage in its perverse terrorist-coddling policies.
I first met Phil in 2015 when he came to my organization seeking help in obtaining documents from the government. He spent an hour in my office explaining to me his background, the work he had done in the government, the treachery of the Obama administration’s policies and the investigations to which he’d been subject after he challenged the administration’s insane deletions of his work. I realized within minutes that I was dealing with an intellect far surpassing that of most ordinary individuals, and certainly that of most top federal government bureaucrats. I was also struck by the basic, self-effacing humility, integrity and decency of the man. He was the type of employee that we should hope the entire federal government is populated with. Unfortunately, it was that very integrity and honesty against which all of the government’s anti-bodies reacted. They had to drive him out because he spoke the truth.
I did my best to help Phil. I sought records from DHS about their investigation of him, as well as records relating to a critical high-level DHS meeting about Tablighi Jamaat which Phil attended. My attorney colleagues sued on my requests, and the records that we obtained from DHS, Phil told me, were central to proving his case that it was the Obama administration’s concern for the “civil rights” of suspected terrorists that were driving the administration’s purging of Phil’s work.
Following the publication of Phil’s seminal book, See Something, Say Nothing, containing his explosive revelations of Obama administration treachery, he went on a speaking tour and did media appearances and presentations to discuss it. One such presentation summarizes well in less than 30 minutes Phil’s assessment of the dangers posed to our country by the covert agenda and activities of the radical Islamist movement in the United States and its leftist, political confreres. He also discusses the persecution he suffered as the hands of our government. It is well worth the time spent viewing. Everyone should get and read his book as well.
One of the last conversations I had with Phil occurred last year, when I offered my condolences on the passing of his wife of 45 years, Francesca, from cancer. His devotion to her was deep and self-evident. He was deeply religious as well. He told me he hoped to be brought back into the government by the Trump administration, perhaps to train CBP officers. I told him that he should be brought back to run CBP and restructure our counterterrorism policies.
An initial report from the sheriff’s office claims that Phil’s gunshot wound to the chest was self-inflicted. I’m sorry, but I do not buy for a minute that this most rational of men, who had weathered nine investigations over many years by the Obama administration into his conduct after he challenged its Islamist-loving policies and come out perfectly clean every time, would ever do something so irrational as to take his own life. Philip Haney was the embodiment of logic and resilience. I could only hope to have a fraction of the fortitude he demonstrated if similarly confronted. He was not a quitter. Ever.
Phil Haney had developed many enemies, both within the Deep State and within the Islamist movement in the United State with his absolutely fearless expositions of their treachery. Again, I call upon Attorney General Barr to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the circumstances surrounding Phil’s death – both the forensic evidence attendant to it and the circumstances of Phil’s life, his communications, and his psychological state. The report of the sheriff’s initial suicide theory does not compute with the man I and many other conservative allies knew.
Phil was always so effusive in his praise of me and my Judicial Watch colleagues, but he was the one who put himself on the line. Phil always concluded our conversations with touching phrases like, “Stay well, amigo” and “Keep up the fight, my friend. You’re doing the Lord’s work.”
Phil Haney, you truly did the Lord’s Work. Rest in peace at his right hand, amigo.
William F. Marshall has been an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, private, and non-profit sectors for more than 30 years. He is a senior investigator for Judicial Watch, Inc., and a contributor to Townhall, American Thinker, and The Federalist. (The views expressed are the author’s alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.)