US Lawmakers Demand Answers From DHS On Surveillance Of Journalists At Border - Letter

US Lawmakers Demand Answers from DHS on Surveillance of Journalists at Border - Letter

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 16th March, 2019) The Department of Homeland Security must explain why the governments of the United States and Mexico are monitoring activists and journalists covering the migrant caravans moving from Central America to the US border, 18 members of Congress wrote in a letter on Friday.

"We write to express our deep concern regarding [reports that] ... more than 50 journalists, US attorneys and volunteers were tracked by the United States and Mexican governments through a program called Operation Secure Line," the lawmakers wrote in their letter to Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

The lawmakers noted that such actions, if confirmed to be true, would constitute a violation of the US Constitution and would have a "chilling effect on the free press.

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"The fact that DHS would track US journalists, attorneys and volunteers attempting to do their jobs when they have committed no crime is deeply concerning," the lawmakers wrote said.

The letter was signed by 18 House Democrats, including Joaquin Castro, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.

NBC reported earlier this month that it obtained leaked documents revealing that Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the largest law enforcement agency run by DHS, compiled a secret database of 59 journalists, lawyers and activists labeled as "suspected organizers, coordinators, instigators, and media." According to the report, CBP has stopped the individuals and detained some for hours to question them at US-Mexican border checkpoints as part of a national security investigation.

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