Department of Homeland Security officials claim that an article published by NBC News alleging that DHS instructed officers to defend Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin during the riots in August, is misleading and incorrect.
The NBC article published Thursday morning claims a DHS document instructed federal law enforcement officials “to make public comments sympathetic to Kyle Rittenhouse.”
Two high-ranking DHS officials denied this account, telling The Federalist that the so-called “internal Department of Homeland Security talking points obtained by NBC News,” were actually bullet points in a different section of a briefing document intended for context of the incident, and not intended to be used for making public statements.
According to these officials, the allegations raised by NBC are referring to a section of the briefing document purposefully labeled “situation” and designed to grant background information to the federal law enforcement officers involved in the case. The second section of the document labeled “response” outlines the talking points intended for use by officers.
The information in the “situation” section that NBC cited as talking points, the DHS officials noted, is actually background information based on news reports of the incident. It explains that Rittenhouse, 17, is being charged with first-degree murder, and “his lawyers are arguing self-defense.” It also states that Rittenhouse “took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners” and that “he was seen being chased and attacked by rioters before allegedly shooting three of them.”
The situational background outlines how media and Democrats “are trying to craft the narrative of a police-obsessed lone-wolf” and a “white supremacist” using “zero evidence.” This section of the document also suggests that “subsequent video has emerged reportedly showing that there were ‘multiple gunmen’ involved, which would lend more credence to the self-defense claims.”
Every person who is briefed on the event gets the background bullet points of the situation before they received talking points, officials told The Federalist, but that the information in the first section is not intended for public use or comment.
According to the DHS officials, officers were instructed to only use the talking points outlined in the response section when dealing with the press or asked to give a statement. The first talking point directs officers to refuse to comment “on an ongoing investigation, and especially not one outside of my jurisdiction.
Instead of commenting on the direct investigation, the officers were ordered to inform the public that the violence in cities around the nation needs to stop. Officers were also directed to state that “Rittenhouse, just like everyone else in America, is innocent until proven guilty and deserves a fair trial based on all the facts, not just the ones that support a certain narrative” and that “we try the accused in the court of law, not the star chamber of public opinion.”
“Chaotic and violent situations lead to chaotic, violent, and tragic outcomes. Everyone needs law and order,” the document states.
In late August, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told The Federalist that individuals have a right to protect themselves and their businesses.
“Law enforcement needs to step in, restore that rule of law so that private citizens don’t have to do this or that, you don’t have counter-protests that become violent. That only happens in the absence of rule of law,” he said.