Customs and Border Protection agent could face internal investigation for questioning reporter
Posted June 12, 2018 10:09 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — US Customs and Border Protection officials referred the actions of agent Jeffrey Rambo to internal compliance investigators after a report alleged the agent had questioned a reporter about her relationship with a Senate Intelligence Committee staffer, despite not being on the investigation.
"CBP takes all allegations of employee misconduct seriously. The allegation has been immediately referred to CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility. We encourage all members of the public to report any potential misconduct immediately so that it may be investigated," a CBP spokesman told CNN.
Rambo met with journalist Ali Watkins last June in Washington, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the incident. Watkins now works for The New York Times, but she worked for Politico at the time of the meeting.
According to The Post's report, while at the meeting Rambo asked Watkins about her reporting methods and knew details, including dates and locations, of trips that she had taken with James Wolfe, who at the time was the director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The information "left Watkins rattled," The Post reported, according to a person familiar with the events.
Last week, CNN reported Wolfe had been arrested on charges of lying to federal agents as part of an investigation related to the unauthorized disclosure of non-public information, according to a federal indictment.
Federal prosecutors accused Wolfe of lying to FBI agents in December 2017 about his contacts with three reporters.
The indictment provided a detailed account of Wolfe's interactions with one specific unnamed reporter. Prosecutors say Wolfe eventually admitted to being in a personal relationship with that reporter, dating back to 2014, CNN previously reported.
A law enforcement official told The Post that Rambo was not involved in the investigation into Wolfe, which raises questions about the reasoning behind his having Watkins' travel information, officials told The Post.