Opinion

ICE whistleblower testifies on how DHS punished her for talking; she almost lost her child

 
Several whistleblowers who claim to have been subjected to harassment testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs this week. Among them was Taylor Johnson, a senior special agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to FoxNews,

Johnson told lawmakers she ran into resistance after investigating the so-called EB-5 program, which offers visas to investors. She said she looked into the program over concerns about security risks, questioning whether visas were being approved with little scrutiny.

transcript via CSPAN

“I began investigating the EB-5 Regional Center, and some of the violations investigated surrounding the project included bank and wire fraud and I discovered ties to organized crime and high-ranking politicians and they received promotions that appeared to facilitate the program. I disclosed this to my management and then specific examples of national security risks, and some of the security risks coincided with what the FBI and CIA already discovered as well. During the course of the investigation, I discovered applicants from China, Russia, Pakistan, Malaysia had been approved in as little as 16 days and the files lacked the basic and necessary law enforcement enquires,” Johnson said.

Her investigation sparked complaints from other agencies and high-ranking politicians. Johnson was removed from the investigation, which was later abandoned completely.

Then the retaliation started. She was placed on administrative leave and forced to turn in her service weapon and credentials. It didn’t stop there. Johnson testified:

“My government vehicle was confiscated, and access to the building and all government databases was revoked and I was told I could not carry my own weapon, which was a constitutional violation. When an adoption social worker tried to contact and verify employment, she was told I had been terminated for a federal offense and I almost lost my 1-year-old child. I am continuously placed in dangerous situations with no way to protect myself or others.”

When asked to explain her thoughts about why she faced such an incredible backlash, Johnson explained:

“I think that because of the people that were involved with the investigation, it was put in a different light and there was extra outside influences and back and forth with the different members and different agencies.”

Johnson did not disclose, and it’s entirely possible she doesn’t know, which politicians were pressuring her superiors to squash her investigation. If this is the way whistleblowers are treated, we will probably never learn the names of those pulling the strings behind the scenes.

 

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