Since the Washington Post spoiled the surprise and published a report about the Trump Administration’s plan to arrest thousands of migrant families who have been denied asylum – prompting the administration to cancel the raids – many have probably been wondering why somebody inside would break President Trump’s longstanding policy of not telegraphing your moves in advance.
Well, now that question appears to have been answered by the Washington Examiner: The acting head of DHS, Kevin McAleenan, reportedly leaked the details of the operation (he traveled alongside the WaPo reporter who broke the story earlier this week) in what sources described as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the raids.
According to several sources who spoke with the Examiner, McAleenan had opposed the raids for months. The acting DHS head, who has been credited with pushing the policy of sending more agents to Guatemala, is said to be more concerned with what Congressional Democrats and the ‘Never Trumpers’ think of his performance than most other members of the administration.
“I know he has not approved of this operation for months,” one person familiar with those private conversations said during a phone call Saturday night. “The president wouldn’t leak that. ICE wouldn’t leak that. There’s only a few people involved in these discussions…the only one who could have shared the details of those operations were Kevin.”
“That’s our belief,” a second official said when asked if McAleenan was behind the leak. “The secretary was not supportive from day one.”
The White House said it had called off the operation to allow more time for lawmakers to work on a plan to fix legal “loopholes” that have helped to entice migrants to come to the US. In reality, McAleenan successfully stymied the operation by exposing the broad strokes. McAleenan allegedly told WaPo that the mass roundups would take place in 10 cities, including Chicago, Miami and Houston. The mayor of Chicago ordered Chicago Police not to grant ICE access to its databases, and refuse to cooperate in any way with the raids.
One official said that, by leaking the details of the raid, McAleenan might have been trying to “be the martyr” in the face of blowback against Trump’s immigration policies. That is, he was trying to distance himself from the administration’s decision making.
The third anonymous source quoted by the Examiner blasted McAleenan as a sucker for ‘Never Trumpers’ and ‘liberals’ and insisted the leak would “leave an un-erasable mark” on his time at the head of DHS.
A third official claimed McAleenan “cares more about what liberals and ‘Never Trumpers’ in Congress and the media think of him the achieving the express mission of his department.”
“[T]his will leave an un-erasable mark on his tenure,” the third official wrote in a text message Saturday evening.
Leaking the information would only have “benefitted one person” who had knowledge of the plan, according to the first person, who added there was “no doubt in my mind” McAleenan either told the Post himself or had a close comrade at DHS take care of it.
“His hands were dirty,” that same official said.
ICE advised the administration to cancel the raids after the leaks not only because targets might have been tipped off by the news and fled wherever they had been staying, but because the leaks could put agents in danger.
“Leaking the locations and details to stop the operation from happening not only harmed operational integrity, but it put the safety and well-being of his own officers in jeopardy,” the third official wrote.
“That’s law enforcement sensitive information. You just don’t reveal that,” the second official said. “It gets people hyped up. It gets the NGOs activated, and then anyone wearing a jacket with the ICE name on it is really chastised. Cities are coming out saying, ‘Here’s how you can protect yourself against it.'”
So the acting DHS head deliberately obstructed a massive immigration action because he was worried about what liberals might think. If this is accurate, we might see even more turmoil over at DHS…and Stephen Miller might have an easier time bringing the administration’s immigration policy completely under his purview.