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Congress investigating allegation Border Patrol official retaliated against after testimony

The witness was reassigned after his testimony, but the Biden administration insists was not retaliation.

Published: July 22, 2023 11:08pm

Congressional investigating are probing whistleblower allegations that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency may have retaliated against a top agency official after he testifying before lawmakers.

House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., and Rep. Mark Green wrote in a letter Friday that they have been told by a whistleblower that El Centro Border Patrol Sector Chief Gregory Bovino was relieved of his command after he finished a transcribed interview with two congressional committees earlier this month.

Bovino was sent to a temporary assignment with “no certain mission, no articulable purpose, and without any timeline of completion," according to the letter. 

“The whistleblower indicates that this pattern 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," wrote Comer and Green, R-Tenn.

"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."

You can read that letter here.

CBP confirmed there had been a reassignment of Bovino but insisted it was unrelated to his congressional testimony.

“This accusation is categorically false," the agency said in a statement obtained by Fox News.

The lawmakers demanded answers and documentation, saying they would consider any retaliation against a witness to be obstruction of a congressional proceeding.

“The ability of Congress to receive truthful testimony about the activities of the Executive Branch is paramount to performing essential oversight functions necessary to inform the legislative process,” they wrote.

They also wrote: “Any retaliation against witnesses who cooperate with Congressional inquiries will not be tolerated, especially when that retaliation may have been committed by government officials. Additionally, obstruction of Congressional investigations is a crime and will not be tolerated."

The dispute over Bovino’s testimony comes as GOP lawmakers in the House consider impeachment proceedings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, alleging he is failing to enforce border laws and putting national security at risk

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