Philip Haney, a former Homeland Security Department official during the Obama administration who blew the whistle on his own agency, was found dead Friday with a gunshot wound about 40 miles east of Sacramento, California.
The Amador County Sheriff’s office confirmed to the Washington Examiner that deputies and detectives responded to reports Friday morning at 10:12 a.m. of a male subject on the ground with a gunshot wound in the area of Highway 124 and Highway 16 in Plymouth, California.
“Upon their arrival, they located and identified 66-year-old Philip Haney, who was deceased and appeared to have suffered a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound. A firearm was located next to Haney and his vehicle. This investigation is active and ongoing. No further details will be released at this time,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
The Amador County Sheriff’s office would not respond to any further questions.
Haney’s stepmom, Judith Haney, told the Washington Examiner that law enforcement took possession of the former DHS official’s cell phone and laptop.
“[The police] haven’t made a conclusion. They’re not releasing anything. They said it could be days or weeks,” she said. “So we really don’t know anything concrete.”
According to sources close to Haney, he was recently in contact with top officials about returning to work for the DHS. Additionally, Haney was engaged to be married.
As a whistleblower, Haney testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2016 that DHS ordered him to delete hundreds of files of people with ties to Islamist terrorist groups, arguing several terrorist attacks against people in the United States could have been prevented if certain files had not been scrubbed.
“It is very plausible that one or more of the subsequent terror attacks on the homeland could have been prevented if more subject matter experts in the Department of Homeland Security had been allowed to do our jobs back in late 2009,” Haney wrote in an opinion piece for the Hill in February 2016. “It is demoralizing — and infuriating — that today, those elusive dots are even harder to find, and harder to connect, than they were during the winter of 2009.”
Republicans on Capitol Hill questioned former President Barack Obama’s homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson, about Haney’s allegations.
“Was Mr. Haney’s testimony that the Department of Homeland Security order over 800 documents … altered or deleted accurate?” Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, asked Johnson, who bristled at the question.
“I have no idea. I don’t know who Mr. Haney is. I wouldn’t know him if he walked into the room,” he said.
The Washington Examiner received a text message from Haney on Nov. 11 which mentioned plans to write a sequel to his first book, See Something Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad, which described his experience at DHS.
“Odd (surreal reality) that I was a highly visible whistleblower … that virtually no one listened to, while this guy remains invisible, but is treated like an anointed oracle from above,” Haney said in the Nov. 11 text, referring to alleged Ukraine whistleblower Eric Ciaramella. “However, my story is still live, i.e., there’s still more to come. It’ll be called ‘National Security Meltdown.'”
Haney added, “I have a severely hyper-organized archive of everything that’s happened since See Something, Say Nothing (SSSN) was published in May of 2016. The National Security Meltdown sequel will pick up right where SSSN left off. My intention is to have it ready by early-to mid-Spring of 2020 (just before the political sound wave hits), then ride that wave all the way to the Nov. elections.”