AOC Confronts DHS Chief Over Facebook Group: ‘Did You See the Photoshopped Images Depicting My Violent Rape?’
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez grilled Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan in a House hearing Thursday on why thousands of Customs and Border Patrol officers belonged to a racist and sexist Facebook group.
“Mr. Secretary are you aware of the ProPublica report indicating that there were about 10,000 potential current and former CBP officers in the violently racist and sexist Facebook group?” Ocasio-Cortez asked McAleenan, to which he responded in the affirmative.
“Did you see the photoshopped images depicting my violent rape?” she asked. McAleenan had.
ProPublica reported that the group has been around for three years and has around 9,500 members. The group’s bio listed it as a forum for “funny” and “serious” discussion about work with the patrol.
AOC went on to ask the DHS secretary if he was aware of posts mocking migrant children’s deaths and posts planning harm to herself and Rep. Veronica Escobar (one post urged border patrol members to hurl a “burrito at these bitches” when AOC and Escobar toured facilities), to which he responded yes. There was also a post that included gruesome photoshopped images of AOC’s rape.
McAleenan told AOC that he had directed an investigation “within minutes” of learning of the secret Facebook group uncovered by ProPublica.
“There’s an aggressive investigation on this issue proceeding,” said McAleenan. “You’ve heard the chief of border patrol, the most senior official in law enforcement across the entire country say that these posts do not meet our standards of conduct and it will be followed up aggressively.”
“We’ve already put officials on administrative duties I don’t know which ones correspond with which posts, and we’ve issued cease and desist orders to dozens more,” said McAleenan.
Ocasio-Cortez then asked if the policy of child separation contributed to a “dehumanizing culture within CBP” that spills into other areas of conduct.
“We do not have a dehumanizing culture at CBP. This is an agency that rescues 4,000 people a year, and is absolutely committed to the wellbeing of everyone they interact with. I don’t believe there’s a dehumanizing culture,” said McAleenan.
“Congresswoman those posts are unacceptable, they’re being investigated, but I don’t think its fair to apply them to the entire organization, or that even the members of that group believed or that even the members of that group believed or supported those posts,” McAleenan continued.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]