Federal Government Reportedly Tracked Journalists Covering Caravan Border Crisis Via Secret Database
A local San Diego television station room is reporting that the Federal government has been tracking journalists and immigration advocates via a secret database.
San Diego’s NBC 7 Investigates obtained documents that show the U.S. government “created a secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports.”
San Diego County is the home of the Ysidro Port of Entry which has been a flashpoint in the recent debate over illegal immigration which the Trump administration has called a crisis and led President Donald Trump to call a National Emergency to release federal funding for a wall that he campaigned on.
As the “caravan” of Central American migrants reached the San Diego area border entry point, it also brought many journalists to the area. Documents uncovered by NBC7′ investigative team indicate many of these journalists were included in a database used by Federal agencies:
The source said the documents or screenshots show a SharePoint application that was used by agents from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations and some agents from the San Diego sector of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
The intelligence gathering efforts were done under the umbrella of “Operation Secure Line,” the operation designated to monitor the migrant caravan, according to the source.
The documents list people who officials think should be targeted for screening at the border.
The individuals listed include ten journalists, seven of whom are U.S. citizens, a U.S. attorney, and 47 people from the U.S. and other countries, labeled as organizers, instigators or their roles “unknown.” The target list includes advocates from organizations like Border Angels and Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
Though it should go without saying that the tracking of journalistic activity by any government is frowned upon by anyone who champions free speech, it is worth noting here. A healthy democracy should not feel the need to track the activity of the fourth estate, else it risks being called a “free” press.
Watch the report above, via NBC7.
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