CBP officer refuses to allow American journalist into the country until he admits he writes "propaganda"

Ben Watson is a reporter for Defenseone, a news site that covers "US defense and National Security" who formerly served in the US Army as a public affairs officer; last week, Watson returned to the USA after an assignment in Denmark, entering the country at Dulles Airport.

When Watson was interviewed by a CBP officer, the officer asked him what his profession was, and when Watson answered "Journalism," the officer said, "So you write propaganda, right?"

Watson denied that he wrote propaganda, and the CBP officer grew belligerent, refusing to allow Watson to pass the checkpoint until he repeatedly stated that being a journalist was the same thing as "writing propaganda."

A CBP spokesperson told Defenseone that they are investigating the officer's conduct.

The CBP have been at the forefront of several scandals related to unethical, xenophobic and lawless behavior since Trump took office, from the agency's role in the unlawful detention and killings of migrant children to participation in a racist and violent Facebook group to unlawful searches of devices at the border to raping their fellow officers in a "hazing ritual" to raping migrants seeking entry to the USA.

The agency is the largest law-enforcement force in America, and attracts more complaints per officer than any other force. The top figures in the Agency are implicated in its scandals, and its poor reputation has starved it of recruits, leaving it scraping the bottom of an unhinged, sadistic, violent, racist and sexist barrel.

The rot goes all the way to the top, with the Agency's top lawyers involved in deeply unethical, secret guidelines that make a mockery of the Constitution. Despite this, the Agency is being given broader powers.

Trump treats CBP as a kind of Praetorian Guard, calling on them to be loyal to him, personally, rather than respecting the law, the chain of command, or Congress. Trump has also made characterizations of the press as "the enemy of the people" and "liars" a centerpiece of his campaigning, repeating a libel that was used by Adolf Hitler to discredit the journalists who opposed his rise to power.

CBP officer, holding Watson’s passport: “What do you do?”

Watson: “Journalism.”

CBP officer: “So you write propaganda, right?”

Watson: “No.”

CBP officer: “You’re a journalist?”

Watson: “Yes.”

CBP officer: “You write propaganda, right?”

Watson: “No. I am in journalism. Covering national security. And homeland security. And with many of the same skills I used in the U.S. Army as a public affairs officer. Some would argue that’s propaganda.”

CBP officer: “You’re a journalist?”

Watson: “Yes.”

CBP officer: “You write propaganda, right?”

Watson waited five seconds. Then: “For the purposes of expediting this conversation, yes.”

CBP officer, a fourth time: “You write propaganda, right?”

Watson, again: “For the purposes of expediting this conversation, yes.”

CBP officer: “Here you go.”

US Customs Officer Harasses Defense One Journalist at Dulles Airport [Ben Watson/Defenseone]

(Image: Opposition24.de, CC BY, modified)