On Tuesday, the Customs and Border Protection office apologized to a BuzzFeed News reporter who says he had been extensively questioned about his employer by a CBP officer at John F. Kennedy Airport.
On Sunday, BuzzFeed News’ deputy director of Breaking News David Mack tweeted that he had been questioned by a CBP officer about BuzzFeed’s report that President Donald Trump told former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Trump Tower negotiations in Moscow; the administration denies the report, and Robert Mueller’s Office of Special Council issued a rare statement disputing “specific statements” as “not accurate.” BuzzFeed, however, stands by its story.
“He was 100% convinced Mueller had personally given a press conference calling us fake news, and I had to politely assure him that didn’t happen while also not wanting to piss him off any further,” Mack wrote in his thread. “There were literally dozens of people waiting and I shit you not, he was about to google the Mueller response to see if it was televised or at least grill me about it.” He was later admitted into the country.
According to the CBP’s website, international travelers entering the U.S. should expect questions about the nature of their trip, if they brought any goods into the U.S. with them, and the status of their citizenship. Mack is an Australian citizen; BuzzFeed News reports that he was returning from the U.K., where he had to renew his work visa.
In response, CBP called Mack to apologize. On Tuesday, CBP assistant commissioner for public affairs Andrew Meehan issued a statement reading: “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. 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.”