Republicans Investigating Whether or Not CBP Demoted Top Border Agent For Speaking to Congress

House Republicans have launched a probe into whether or not Customs and Border Protection demoting a top border agent was retaliation for him speaking to Congress about Joe Biden’s failings at the southern border.

El Centro Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino was “reassigned to a vague, indefinite, and temporary headquarters assignment” just hours after he spoke to the House Oversight Committee and House Homeland Security Committee on July 12, according to a report from the New York Post.

Oversight Chairman James Comer and Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green sent a letter to Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner Troy A. Miller about their concerns that “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials may have retaliated against a witness in a Congressional investigation.”

The letter said that “a credible whistleblower with extensive experience in and knowledge of CBP personnel practices” went to them and said that this type of retaliation is “consistent with a common CBP practice to get rid of employees perceived as problematic by high-level officials by forcing those employees, out of frustration, to relocate, retire, or resign.”

“Given the suspicious timing of the reassignment coinciding with Chief Bovino’s cooperation with a Congressional inquiry, we demand CBP account for the current status of Chief Bovino’s employment and assignment within the U.S. Border Patrol, provide documents and communications relevant to any reassignment and the reasons for any related employment action, and brief the Committee on this matter,” the lawmakers continued in the letter.

According to the Post’s reporting, the whistleblower told the lawmakers that Bovino “may have produced written testimony in preparation for this hearing that was dissatisfactory to CBP officials: so much so that he was verbally reprimanded by headquarters officials.”

The letter asked that CBP, the Department of Homeland Security, and the White House turn over records related to Bovino’s testimony and subsequent reassignment no later than August 4. They are also asking for CBP to brief the committees by July 28.

According to the CBP website, “Chief Bovino entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol on November 17, 1996, as a member of Border Patrol Academy Class 325.  His first duty assignment as a Border Patrol Agent was in California at the El Centro Station in the El Centro Sector.  While in El Centro, he promoted to Senior Patrol Agent in 1999 and Supervisory Border Patrol Agent in May of 2002.  During this time, he fulfilled significant details to the Border Patrol Tactical Unit including the position of Acting Field Operations Supervisor.  There he was instrumental in developing the Border Patrol Marksman Observer Program as well as deploying to foreign assignments in Honduras, Egypt, and Africa. “

 

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