About that immediate investigation promised by the Department of Homeland Security’s acting chief, Kevin McAleenan, into the thousands of Border Patrol agents participating in a Facebook group that posts racist and obscene material? Turns out Border Patrol has known about its existence as far back as 2016, and has been letting it go.
Agents concerned about the photos that “show agents engaging in conduct that includes simulating sex acts and taking selfies while defecating” in social media posts alerted officials as long as three years ago, a current Homeland Security official tells Politico. A former DHS official confirmed that he knew about the Facebook posts for the past year. “Staffers in CBP’s public affairs office monitored the Facebook group over the past year ‘as a source of intelligence’ to see ‘what people are talking about,’ according to the former DHS official,” Ted Hesson and Cristiano Lima report.
“We were not talking about [the Facebook group] ’10-15′ as a liability or an asset or as an item of concern,” the former official added. “10-15” is the code Border Patrol agents use internally to indicate “aliens in custody.” In other words, the derogatory postings were just the boys of Border Patrol being boys, and their posts have been used by staffers as “a source of intelligence” into “what people are talking about.” Old images include some flagged in 2016 for then-Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan—who has just been tapped again as the acting chief—of an armed agent simulating sex with a training mannequin and another in which he’s holding what looks like a human skull and smiling, captioned about the agent handling “a little human remains.”
“Every single law enforcement agency has a group like this,” said one former DHS official, seemingly minimizing the activity of this group and missing the point that it’s a problem for every single law enforcement agency to have these racist groups. Not all former officials were as sanguine in their assessment. “If you’re going to joke about dead Hispanic babies and raping members of Congress on Facebook in front of 9,500 of your colleagues,” said one former DHS official, “what are you saying and doing in private?”