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Pentagon to Investigate Legality of Trump’s Use of Military Personnel Along Southern Border


The Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General announced Tuesday that it will be investigating and evaluating whether U.S. military personnel deployed along the southern border by President Donald Trump are being trained and used in accordance with the law.

According to a memo signed by acting Department of Defense Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, the scope of the IG’s probe will include the training provided to troops regarding potential contact with civilians, the “actual use” of U.S. troops as support for security operations, and troop “coordination and interaction” with Department of Homeland Security personnel.

The government watchdog will also be looking into the amount of federal dollars being spent to support the thousands of troops currently deployed on the border to ensure that the funds are being used in full compliance with federal law and Defense Department policy.

“We intend to conduct this important evaluation as expeditiously as possible,” Fine said in a statement to NBC News.

Fine’s memo, which was sent to several top Pentagon officials, came in response to a request from 34 House Democrats in September asking the IG to investigate the possible “misuse and politicization of United States military personnel and resources, including for potential legal and constitutional violations, at the U.S. southern border.” The bloc of congressmen also accused the White House of stonewalling multiple requests to provide the information without the IG’s intervention.

“The misuse of U.S. military personnel and resources raises serious questions about legality and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars,” the letter stated. “Military personnel at the border should not be delegated responsibilities outside of their scope. The blurred rules of engagement also erode fundamental laws and norms that keep the U.S. military separate from domestic law enforcement and risk further traumatizing and irreparably harming children and families who seek safety and asylum.”

Fine’s investigation memo was sent to Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the commander of Northern Command; Adm. Craig Faller, the commander of Southern Command; Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau; and Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, the commander of Army Reserve Command. It requested that all named officials provide a point of contact for the IG’s office by week’s end.

Read the IG’s memo below:

Pentagon IG Memo by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via STAFF/AFP/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.