Secretive Homeland Security Operation Spying On Journalists and Lawmakers

Secretive Homeland Security Operation Spying On Journalists and Lawmakers

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is now conducting a review of a secret internal division that has been found to have been using sensitive databases and other information sources to investigate innocent Americans.

A review is underway to ensure that the activities in question during the prior Administration remain an isolated incident and that proper safeguards are in place to prevent an incident like this from taking place in the future,” Luis Miranda, a spokesperson for CBP, told Yahoo News.

YahooNews

Rep. Benny Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security released the following statement regarding previous reports that the Counter Network Division at U.S. Customs and Border Protection were investigating journalists, members of Congress, and other American citizens using government databases:

If true, this abuse of government surveillance powers to target journalists, elected officials and their staff is deeply disturbing. The United States government has an obligation to protect all citizens’ right to privacy and freedom of speech. There must be accountability and protections in place to ensure that such incidents never occur. The Inspector General must provide this report to Congress to enable critical oversight work.”

Committee on Homeland Security Press Release

CBP agent Jeffrey Rambo was implicated in 2-year internal probe where he was found – at the direction of his supervisor, Dan White – to have collected data on journalists and their contacts to build a network of connected people, using financial, phone, and travel information. At the end of the investigation, no charges were brought, despite evidence of wrongdoing, and false-statements made to investigators by CBP agents under investigation.

A CBP official who asked not to be named told Yahoo News that the National Targeting Center has put in place new procedures and training designed to ensure that the First and Fourth amendments are not being violated. The official declined, however, to specify what those measures were.

YahooNews

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