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CBP investigating Facebook posts of 70 current, former employees

By
Darryl Coote
A total of 70 former and current U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are under investigation. File Photo by Mani Albrecht/ U.S. Customs and Border Protection/UPI
A total of 70 former and current U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are under investigation. File Photo by Mani Albrecht/ U.S. Customs and Border Protection/UPI | License Photo

July 16 (UPI) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it is investigating 62 current and eight former employees connected to posts on Facebook involving derogatory, sexual and racial content.

The investigation is a response to a ProPublica report exposing a secret Facebook group of 9,500 former and current CBP employees called "I'm 10-15," where some members made racial and sexual posts about Latino members of Congress who've been critical of the treatment of migrants at border detention centers.

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Following the revelation, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said the posts were "completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see -- and expect -- from our agents day in and day out."

On Monday, Matthew Klein, assistant commissioner of CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility, told reporters in a phone call the majority of those identified were members of the "I'm 10-15" group, which is CBP code for "alien in custody." The rest were members of two other similar Facebook groups.

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Klein said he anticipates the number of investigations to grow as more information is received through further research and interviews. However, it is not a criminal investigation, he said, but an internal investigation into "serious administrative misconduct" by employees.

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"To be clear, the expectations of professional conduct don't end at the end of one's shift," he said. "CBP has set standards of conduct that prohibit the types of posts we saw in this case."

Messages posted in private on social media that are discriminatory or offensive could be in violation of CBP's standard of conduct, he said.

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Many of the posts in question were about New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who chastised the agency following the revelation of the Facebook group.

"They're threatening violence on members of Congress," she said in a tweet. "How do you think they're treating caged children and families?"

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