This morning the Associated Press released a report that the Department of Homeland Security was considering mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops as part of their efforts to round up unauthorized immigrants.
Needless to say, the reaction to this proposal was swift and almost uniformly negative. The idea of a “deportation force” which had been vigorously denied by Speaker Paul Ryan, among other Republication leaders, goes strongly against the grain of what many consider “American values.”
White House Press Secretary quickly denounced the AP report saying “This is 100% not true. It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this.” He then went to chastise the Associated Press by accusing them of not trying to verify the report before publishing. “I wish you guys had asked before you tweeted,” he added.
There was just one problem with that statement which the AP quickly corrected. They had asked, multiple times, both the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for comments and had received no reply. Spicer’s lame reply to this was “It is not a White House document.”
Jamie Dupree, a reporter who covers Washington for multiple news stations, produced a tweet from the Department of Homeland Security that the memo was “a very early, pre-decisional draft … and was never seriously considered.”
So the AP report was correct, as best as they could determine. Which raises some serious questions.
- Why did the DHS refuse to comment on or refute the AP report? We know that a memo did exist, in whatever state in might have existed. DHS could easily have clarified it before publication.
- Was the White House trying again to discredit the mainstream media by pointing to what they could call “fake news.”?
- Was this intended to distract from stories such as a Russian spy ship cruising just off the coast of the eastern United States?
- Was this a trial balloon by the White House? Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes? If so, they quickly and disingenuously, walked it back. Remember Spicer’s “This is 100% not true. It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this.”
- Another possibility is that this was an attempt by the administration to identify potential leakers. If so, they are the ones who are “irresponsible to be saying this.”
Whatever reason lurked beneath the thinking in the White House and the DHS to even CONSIDER mobilizing the National Guard in the absence of a national crisis must be disturbing to any responsible citizen.