Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman James Schwab slammed the agency in an interview with CBS News on Wednesday — his first since resigning in March. Halfway through his sit-down with CBS reporter Jamie Yuccas, federal agents knocked on his door.
Schwab explained his decision to quit the agency, citing a request by his supervisors to “perpetuate misleading facts” about the consequences of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf alerting immigrants about an impending government raid.
The former ICE spokesman told Yuccas that ICE “ended up arresting 232” unregistered immigrants, which he said was “16 percent higher than our highest estimates.” But both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan directed him to announce to the public that nearly 800 “wanted aliens” had avoided capture due to Shaaf’s warning — a statement he called “a flat-out lie.”
“They know it’s a lie. It was just shocking to me that no one wanted to fix that, Schwab said to Yuccas. “I could not fathom staying at an organization that was OK with lying to the American public. I hate that.”
Before Scwhab could finish, two men who identified themselves as agents of the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office knocked on his front door.
Footage aired Thursday morning shows the agents refusing to speak with Yuccas when she asks them what they are doing at Schwab’s house. CBS News caught the incident on camera.
“I’m talking to [Schwab]” one of the agents keeps repeating. “This is confidential.”
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) June 28, 2018
After the agents left, Yuccas continued the interview. “What was that about?” she asked Schwab, who told her, “they just said that they wanted to talk to me about the leak with the Oakland mayor,” the implication here being that Schwab was the one responsible for tipping off Schaaf about the immigration raid.
“Why, three months later, are we doing this?” he asked the reporter. “This is intimidation. And this is why people won’t come out and speak against the government.” Schwab maintains his innocence concerning the Oakland mayor. “I’ve never met her before. I never contacted Libby Schaaf,” he told Yuccas. “Never. I would never tell her. I would never tell anyone.”
People on Twitter were astounded that the government sent spooks to a whistleblowers’ house in order to intimidate him, calling it a violation of free speech.