Border Patrol Launches Investigation Into Agents' Secret Facebook Group

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Posted: Jul 15, 2019 7:00 PM
Border Patrol Launches Investigation Into Agents' Secret Facebook Group

Source: AP Photo/Eric Gay

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Monday announced their investigation into a secret Facebook group where 62 current and eight former Border Patrol employees allegedly mocked legislators and illegal aliens, the Associated Press reported. 

The group, called "I'm 10-15," was first reported by ProPublica and is said to have more than 9,000 members. Current and former agents reportedly posted a doctored image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) performing a sexual act on President Donald Trump. Other posts also questioned the authenticity of photo of a father and child dead on the banks of the Rio Grande River.

The Facebook group came to light as AOC and other members of the Democratic caucus traveled to the southern border to tour various detention facilities. 

CBP originally sent the case to the Department of Homeland Security to investigate. DHS declined and sent the case back to CBP to investigate internally. 

"Messages posted on a private page that are discriminatory or harassing are not protected and violate standards of conduct,” Matthew Klein, Assistant Commissioner of the CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility said.

Employees can be reprimanded, from counseling to firing, depending on the severity of the conduct.

“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out,” Border Patrol head Carla Provost said when the Facebook group first came to light.“Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”

CBP is working to determine who was active in the Facebook group and who was merely an inactive member. The agency says not reporting misconduct is also a form of misconduct as well. CBP had Facebook archive the group's data 

According to a former agent, in order to get into the Facebook group, an employee had to provide an administrator with their graduating class number from the Border Patrol Academy and have a current member vouch for their credentials. 

The Intercept previously reported Provost as a member of the group. An internal memo provided to The Hill showed CBP was aware of the Facebook group since February 2018.