Patrol agents face suspension following remarks to newspaper

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Looks like the INS is desperate to maintain a public fašade of effectiveness and has threatened retaliation against agents who speak to the press without permission.

For educational purposes only

http://www.freep.com/news/statewire/sw41528_20010925.htm

Patrol agents face suspension following remarks to newspaper September 25, 2001, 9:10 AM

DETROIT (AP) -- Two U.S. Border Patrol agents could be suspended for 90 days without pay for talking to the Detroit Free Press about their security concerns.

The agents, Mark Hall and Robert Lindemann, said Michigan's 804 miles of shoreline border are guarded by 28 field agents, one working boat, several damaged electronic sensors and one broken remote camera.

They also told the newspaper that officials at the state's border with Canada lack the resources to adequately protect Americans from terrorists.

Last weekend, their supervisors sent discipline proposal letters to both agents outlining their alleged misconduct, said Patricia Nighswander, executive director of the National Border Patrol Council, a union based in Washington, D.C. Nighswander represents the patrol agents.

According to a copy of the letter supplied to the Free Press by Nighswander, Hall and Lindemann were cited for failing to follow instructions not to talk to reporters.

Nighswander said Hall and Lindemann's "speech is protected because they were speaking as union officials." Hall is president of the local border patrol agents' union; Lindemann is vice president.

The letter, signed by Deputy Chief Patrol Agent John France, said: "It is likely that your comments will, at a minimum, cause ill will amongst the public and possibly unnecessary paranoia in the country at a time when it is our job to protect the borders and instill confidence in the public that they are safe from terrorists."

Mike Gilhooly, a spokesman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, said the agency doesn't comment on personnel matters.

-- K (infosurf@yahoo.com), September 26, 2001


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