Internal memo shows officials were aware of Border Patrol agent Facebook group as early as February 2018: report

Internal memo shows officials were aware of Border Patrol agent Facebook group as early as February 2018: report
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An internal memo reveals that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) leadership was aware last year of at least one private Facebook account for agents that included “inappropriate and offensive posts.”

In a February 2018 internal CBP memo obtained by The Hill, Matthew Klein, CBP’s assistant commissioner of the Office of Professional Responsibility, wrote that the agency “was made aware of a private Facebook group page that only a specific group of CBP employees could access, on which inappropriate and offensive posts were made.”


“The bottom line is the Agency may bring discipline against an employee who posts offensive messages on a social media page where there is nexus to the Agency workplace,” he added. 

It is unclear if the memo referred to a Facebook group uncovered by ProPublica earlier this week that included derogatory posts targeting migrants and lawmakers, or a second page uncovered by CNN Friday that contains vulgar and sexually explicit posts. 

A current Department of Homeland Security official also told Politico on Thursday that the agency’s leadership was aware of derogatory photos posted in one group as far back as 2016.

The news comes as the agency faces an avalanche of criticism over the pages, with many Democrats saying it allowed a toxic culture to fester among its agents. 

“This isn't about 'a few bad eggs.' This is a violent culture,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHouse adjourns for recess without passing bill to extend federal eviction ban Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (D-N.Y.), who was targeted in several posts, tweeted Monday. "How on earth can CBP's culture be trusted to care for refugees humanely?”

One page, founded in 2016, has about 9,500 members and is called “I’m 10-15,” referring to the code for “aliens in custody.”

Group members joked in one post about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May while in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas. Another post depicted Ocasio-Cortez engaging in oral sex with a detained migrant.

“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see—and expect—from our agents day in and day," CBP chief Carla Provost said in a statement earlier this week.

“Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable."

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan this week ordered an investigation into the groups.

A CBP spokesperson told ABC News that posts in the second Facebook page would also be investigated for potential employee misconduct.

Updated at 9:22 p.m.