So now the government interrupts interviews to stop the truth from being told! Is this now a dictatorship?!?! https://t.co/oSpBqe7sH9— Farmers Daughter??????? (@kdbk42) June 28, 2018
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement whistleblower, who resigned in protest for being told to lie about immigration raids in the Oakland area earlier this year, was interrupted during his first television interview on Wednesday.
In the middle of his interview with Jamie Yuccas, James Schwab, who was discussing discrepancies and lies about undocumented immigrants perpetuated by President Donald Trump’s administration officials, received a knock on his door.
Schwab and Yuccas both answered it. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s Office had arrived, wanting to ask Schwab questions about the subject matter he was discussing with Yuccas.
This video of government officials interrupting CBS as they interview an ICE whistleblower *in his home* should disturb every single person living in the United States, regardless of political affiliation. #AbolishICE— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) June 28, 2018
Source: https://t.co/opTAx5FJhD pic.twitter.com/EHzszb3U3A
Schwab left ICE in March over his frustration of a lie being perpetuated regarding those raids. When Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf leaked to her community about the planned raids, Schwab was told to draft a statement alleging that her action made the agency’s work more difficult.
In reality, the agency’s raids actually ended up capturing more undocumented immigrants than they had expected.
“We ended up arresting 232, which is 16 percent higher than our highest estimates,” Schwab said. “So internally, that was considered a success...But what they publicly said was that [Mayor Schaaf] let people go.”
Schwab’s original statement was political spin, stating that “Some of them [undocumented immigrants] were able to elude” ICE due to “the mayor's irresponsible decision.” Schwab said he was comfortable with that statement because it included the word “some.”
His feelings changed, however, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested that ICE had failed to arrest 800 individuals because of the mayor’s actions. That was “[c]ompletely false,” according to Schwab.
After the agency was asked about the differences between Sessions’ words and Schwab’s original statement, Schwab said he was told not to correct the figure cited by the attorney general.
“It was just shocking to me that no one wanted to fix that,” Schwab said.
He explained his decision to leave.
“I could not fathom staying at an organization that was OK with lying to the American public,” he said. “I hate that. In 17 years in the military, at the Department of Defense as a civilian, at NASA, and now at Homeland Security, I have never been asked to lie. I have never been asked to perpetuate a lie, which is the same as lying.”
After the agents who interrupted his interview with Yuccas left, he explained that he felt their presence there was an intimidation tactic.
“Why, three months later, are we doing this? This is intimidation,” Schwab said. “And this is why people won't come out and speak against the government.”
Schwab is right to question the intimidation. He stood up to an action he believed to have been wrong, and now it seems that the government wants to find ways to scare him into compliance.
It’s fortunate that this incident happened while television cameras were rolling. But in the years ahead, if more dissenters within the Trump administration highlight disturbing lies and actions taken, cameras won’t always be readily available to document such intimidating measures.
This is dangerous territory we’re heading down, further indicative of the type of government Trump wishes he could run.