We have now reached the six-month anniversary of the investigation into border patrol agents that President Joe Biden declared guilty of whipping migrants at the border. Biden and the media spread a false story based on a misleading picture of mounted agents using a whip to guide his horse. While the Administration promised a conclusion to the investigation within days or weeks, it has continued to refuse to release any results and insists that it remains “under investigation.” The concern is that the Administration does not want to contradict the President who proclaimed the guilt of the agents and promised that they would be punished before they were investigated, let alone adjudicated. Six months ago, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas promised that the investigation would be “completed in a matter of days, not weeks.”
YouTube still features videos falsely claiming that the agents whipped migrants:
The agents were responding to a large influx of undocumented migrants in Del Rio, Texas on Sept. 19. The media exploded with condemnations from politicians and pundits. Media stories presented the whipping as fact as the “Whipping (of) Haitian Asylum Seekers.”
Democratic politicians like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) declared that the whipping was “worse than what we witnessed in slavery” and described “the cowboys who were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer decried “images of inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol—including the use of whips.” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) called it simply “white supremacist behavior.” Many in the media went into high gear, denouncing what one outlet described as the “Whipping (of) Haitian Asylum Seekers.”
However, Biden’s behavior was the worst, due to his position as head of the Executive Branch: “It was horrible what — to see, as you saw — to see people treated like they did: horses nearly running them over and people being strapped. It’s outrageous. I promise you, those people will pay.”
By announcing that the agents were guilty and needed to be punished, Biden destroyed the credibility of the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing investigation.
The problem is that the photographer himself quickly stated that it was false and “nobody saw a Border Patrol agent whipping.”
Once debunked, the White House and virtually all of the media went into a familiar radio silence. It was sent to “investigation” and buried.
It is now six months later and the Biden Administration continues to maintain that the agents remain under investigation. Obviously, the falsity of President Biden’s declaration was established within days. It did not take days, let alone months, to determine if the agents did or did not “strap” or whip these migrants.
A classic response to such scandals is to bury them in investigation to wait for public attention to wane. You can do that by changing the question. For example, what began as an investigation into whether agents used reins to whip migrants might be converted into a long investigation into the use of horses in crowd control operations. That will take a lot of time and, when the report is issued, the actual whipping allegation can be buried in a broader policy debate. That will allow the media, as well as the Administration, to focus on the policy as opposed to the personnel involved.
Of course, President Biden was declaring the guilt of people who should have rights of due process and an expectation of a modicum of fairness. However, their innocence is now an inconvenient fact for both the Administration and many in the media. So they languish in legal purgatory.