By Gothamist |
CBP Sorry For Grilling BuzzFeed Reporter At JFK About That Michael Cohen Story: Gothamist
Customs and Border Protection has issued an official apology after one of its agents subjected a BuzzFeed journalist to 10 minutes of intensive questioning on a broad range of mostly irrelevant topics.
On Tuesday, the arbitrarily interrogated employee—BuzzFeed News Deputy Director David Mack—tweeted that CBP Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs Andrew Meehan had called him to deliver a personal apology for the impromptu inquisition he faced at JFK on Sunday night.
According to BuzzFeed, Meehan described the rogue worker's conduct as "a very serious issue," and indeed, the CBP agent did touch on a vast spread of serious issues during his spiel. Talking points reportedly included the Michael Cohen story (you know the one), Robert Mueller's investigative progress, collusion—was there or wasn't there?—and Joy Behar, a host of ABC's The View. An impressively expansive scope, considering the time frame.
Update: Today I received a call from @CBP spokesman Andrew Meehan, who offered a personal apology on behalf of the agency & assured me that action was taken. He was very kind but clearly disturbed by what happened on Sunday night. I told him I was grateful for his apology. https://t.co/Ea78e6pAsy— David Mack (@davidmackau) February 5, 2019
Mack, an Australian citizen, had been in London to renew his U.S. work visa, according to BuzzFeed. After he landed in New York, he made his way to customs and eventually handed over his identification at the passport control checkpoint. When the agent saw BuzzFeed on Mack's visa, he dove straight into the outlet's report that President Donald Trump had instructed Cohen, his former fixer, to lie to Congress.
the immigration agent at JFK just saw that i work for buzzfeed and just grilled me for 10 minutes about the cohen story which was fun given he gets to decide whether to let me back into the country— David Mack (@davidmackau) February 4, 2019
According to Mack, the agent "was 100% convinced [that Special Counsel Mueller] had personally given a press conference calling [BuzzFeed] fake news," obligating Mack "to politely assure him that didn't happen while also not wanting to piss him off any further." Because of course, this man held the keys to Mack's reentry into the country.
It's unclear how Behar came up, although she does openly loathe Trump. In any case, Mack tweeted that the very opinionated agent appeared to be on the brink of googling Mueller's response before finally letting Mack pass. A weird flex, to be sure.
In a statement to BuzzFeed, Meehan reiterated his regret over the ambush.
"On behalf of the agency, I would like to extend our apologies to Mr. David Mack for the inappropriate remarks made to him during his CBP processing upon his arrival to the United States," he said. "The officer's comments do not reflect CBP's commitment to integrity and professionalism of its workforce. In response to this incident, CBP immediately reviewed the event and has initiated the appropriate personnel inquiry and action."
In his call, Meehan reportedly expressed hope that Mack could "treat this incident as incidental."
"It does not reflect the agency, and certainly not the professionalism that its officers strive to maintain," Meehan said. "From one human to another, we're sorry."