Philip Haney, an expert on Islamic extremism who was a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 and who became a prominent critic of President Obama’s questionable management of the agency after he retired in 2015, died from a single gunshot wound on February 21. Haney’s body was found lying on the ground outside his car in the small California town of Plymouth, east of Sacramento.
On Saturday afternoon, as the news of Haney’s death began to be reported, initially in social media and the new media and then more widely, the local Sheriff’s Office of Amador County issued a statement based on the local “Coroner’s Investigation:”
On February 21, 2020 at approximately 1012 hours, deputies and detectives responded to the area of Highway 124 and Highway 16 in Plymouth to the report of a male subject on the ground with a gunshot wound.
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.
A number of people were skeptical of the conclusion that Haney took his own life. For example, investigative journalist and Fox News contributor Sara A. Carter tweeted at 11:09 AM ET on Saturday morning:
Somebody I deeply respected and considered a friend Phil Haney – a DHS whistleblower during the Obama Admin was apparently killed yesterday in Southern [sic] California. Pray for his family and pray they find the person who murdered him. Still trying to get confirmation on details
Carter’s tweet was quoted in a story at Fox News published around 7 PM ET Saturday.
In 2016, one year after he retired from government service, Haney published a book, See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad. The book was extremely critical of President Barack Obama and his administration. Haney appeared several times on Fox News, including on Hannity (June 14, 2016) and Fox & Friends.
An article at Law Enforcement Today on Saturday noted:
Haney, who is credited with helping capture more than 300 jihadists, is best known for blowing the whistle on the Obama administration for shutting down an investigation he was leading that could have potentially stopped, among others… the terrorist attack in San Bernardino.
That attack, occurring on December 2, 2015, left 14 people dead and 22 seriously injured from gunshot wounds at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.
On June 28, 2016, Haney testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. His opening statement, which is available online, was titled “Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts To Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism.”
Haney appeared frequently as a guest on new media platforms, including extensive interviews with John B. Wells on Caravan to Midnight (subscription required) and on The Hagmann Report (audio podcast of July 14, 2017 interview here). On January 4, 2018, Haney made his second appearance (video here) on The Hagmann Report, in the third hour long segment following my own in the program’s second hour. Although we were both guests on the program that evening, I did not have a chance to engage Haney as our segments were self-contained.
Friends of Haney discounted the initial report that Haney, a devout Christian, committed suicide. According to Law Enforcement Today:
Friends of Haney told us that they spoke with Haney earlier this week and he’d “never been happier.” They’ve suggested there’s absolutely no way he would have taken his own life… and reinforce that he’s had many enemies since he blew the whistle on the Obama administration. . .
In 2018, Haney told Intercessors for America prayer activists that he had been working on a “special assignment” in Minnesota to stop Rep. Keith Ellison from being elected Minnesota’s Attorney General. As we approach the 2020 elections, friends of Haney’s told us he was planning on doubling down on efforts to “protect America from progressive leftists socialists”.