From the San Bernadino Sun:
Congressmen who visit the U.S.-Mexico border unannounced are being monitored by the Department of Homeland Security, and at least one U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent has been suspended for speaking to a congressman without first getting supervisory clearance, according to documents obtained by the Daily Bulletin.
Congressional members interviewed by the newspaper said they were unaware until recently that Border Patrol agents were required to file Significant Incident Reports – normally used for shootings and other serious border incidents – when congressional members made unannounced visits in the summer along the U.S.-Mexico border.
A second document obtained by the paper reveals that one agent was suspended for 10 days without pay for speaking with Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who made an unannounced visit to the border in May.
“Preventing Congress from speaking freely to federal employees violates at least two federal statutes, and agents are fearful of telling the truth,” said King, who recounted several visits to the Mexican border when Border Patrol agents would not speak with him for fear of reprisal.
“Filing these reports is a form of intimidation. If anyone is going to be punished, then they should be punished for not speaking to a member of Congress, rather than for telling the truth.”
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who also has made unannounced visits to the border, said he is concerned congressional oversight of border matters has suffered as a result of the Homeland Security monitoring. Poe echoed King’s assertion that forcing agents to file reports is a form of intimidation, and said Congress is prepared to call for hearings and issue subpoenas to investigate the matter.
“Members of Congress should not be under surveillance by Homeland Security because we ask the tough questions (of) border agents, and border agents should not be intimidated into having to report our visits and conversations with them like we are criminals,” Poe said. “Members of Congress are not the enemy because we want to find out the truth at the border.”
I keep wondering what they have to gain from playing down the situation on the border? You would think the opposite would be true, that they would want them to know how bad it is so they get more men, tools and money; that is usually the way it works.
A Tucson Border Patrol agent, whose name is being withheld for fear of reprisal, was suspended on Aug. 21 for 10 consecutive days without pay for speaking with King while on duty, according to a suspension letter obtained by the newspaper.
Office of Border Patrol officials, who had heard that congressional members were making unannounced visits to the border, discovered the identity of the agent while performing an Internet search, when they found a photograph of the agent with the congressman.
“On May 6, while on official duty, you met with your friend, Congressman King, and three other individuals,” the letter stated. “You took them to an area west of your office and gave them a tracking demonstration, and you spent approximately three hours with these individuals. You did not have prior supervisory permission to perform these activities while in an on-duty status.”
King said he is “seeking a positive resolution to that matter.”
Numerous field agents interviewed by the Daily Bulletin over the past month said directives from U.S. Border Patrol headquarters have also kept them from filing accurate reports about incidents along the southwest border.
“It feels like we just can’t speak the truth,” said an Arizona Border Patrol agent, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They want to know what we say and who we say it to. If we say something that doesn’t fit with the agency line, then we’re reprimanded.”
There you have it, the government goes out of its way to prosecute two decorated border patrol officers for an encounter with an illegal alien drug runner and now they are hidding the truth from congress.
Well we will get a fence Bill with high tech gadgets to help seal our border, but it seems like those in charge don’t want the border sealed. During the time the fence is being built, I guarantee, in the next Congress, they will be pushing for amnesty and an increased guest worker program.
Hat tip: American Freedom Riders
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