Senators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents
British man says customs agent questioned him for being a journalist
A British writer for Empire Magazine says that he was briefly questioned by a U.S. customs agent who asked him about his background as a reporter before allowing him entry into the U.S.
In a viral Twitter thread, writer James Dyer tweeted that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent "accused [him] of being part of the 'fake news media' " during a security stop at Los Angeles International Airport.
"He wanted to know if I'd ever worked for CNN or MSNBC or other outlets that are 'spreading lies to the American people.' He aggressively told me that journalists are liars and are attacking their democracy," Dyer wrote.
"He let me go after I said that I was just here to write about Star Wars, and would keep the fake news about that to a bare minimum," Dyer continued.
Dyer added in subsequent tweets that he was not physically detained, but called the agent's comments "inappropriate."
"To clarify for those (kindly) saying this was illegal detention, I wasn't detained or taken into a room. This all happened at the visa/passport/fingerprint check and only lasted a couple of minutes. He made no attempt to physically detain me beyond the questions (and lecture)," Dyer tweeted.
"No I wasn't mistreated or detained in any way. Questions at customs are to be expected while fingerprinting etc is going on. It's just the fake news/MSM diatribe that was surprising and inappropriate," he added.
A CBP official told The Washington Post that the agency was aware of Dyer's claims and that comments like the ones he experienced would not be tolerated by agency employees.
"All CBP officers take an Oath of Office, a solemn pledge that conveys great responsibility and one that should be carried out at all times with the utmost professionalism," the statement said, according to the Post. "Inappropriate comments or behavior are not tolerated, and do not reflect our values of vigilance, integrity and professionalism."
Earlier this year, CBP officials faced a similar incident when several reporters and immigration lawyers were stopped by agents and asked about their views of the president while attempting to re-enter the country in April.
The agency's San Diego branch also came under fire for the creation of a watch list that included the names of journalists and immigrants' rights advocates.