Bennie Thompson Probes Reports Border Patrol has Secret Database Targeting Reporters and Lawyers
Documents obtained by NBC’s San Diego station appeared to show that the U.S. government created a secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports. Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security, is demanding answers about the report. In a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, which Thompson authored with Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY), the pair request the list, any dossiers of those on the list, and the reasons why individuals were placed on the list. CBP is reportedly using this list to stop, detain, question, and search reporters, attorneys, and advocates at the southern border. The documents provided by a whistleblower to NBC reportedly include photos and instructions for CBP officers to stop the 59 individuals if they cross the border. Some individuals have even been required to allow CBP officers to search their cell phones before being released. “The appearance that CBP is targeting journalists, lawyers, and advocates, and particularly those who work on immigration matters or report on border and immigration issues, raises questions about possible misuse of CBP’s border search authority and requires oversight to ensure the protection of Americans’ legal and constitutional rights,” the lawmakers wrote. Read the letter here.