ABC News is reporting that Department of Defense Inspector General (DOD/IG) Glenn Fine has initiated an inquiry, at the request of a multitude of Democratic lawmakers, into whether President Trump's deployment of military troops to the southern border was lawful.
The December 10 DOD IG notice to affected parties says:
This is to inform you that the DoD Office of Inspector General has decided to conduct an evaluation of the use of U.S. military personnel and resources in support of security operations at the U.S. southern border. The scope of this evaluation will include, but is not limited to:
- the actual use of U.S. military personnel in support of security operations at the U.S. southern border;
- the training provided to U.S. military personnel, including training on potential contacts with civilians;
- U.S. military personnel coordination and interaction with Department of Homeland Security personnel at the U.S. southern border; and
- the amount of funding to support the U.S. Military deployment to the southern border, and whether the actual use of those funds comply with applicable federal law and DoD policy
Consistent with our standard practice, we are asking each addressee to provide our office with a point of contact by December 13, 2019. The point of contact should be knowledgeable of the U.S. military support of security operations at the U.S. southern border.
Huh. Wonder how that work's going to be structured?
As I recall, Trump is merely the last in a line of presidents to have done this. George W. Bush did. Barack Obama did, too. (See here, here and here.) Come to think of it, so did Bill Clinton before either of those presidents.
So is Fine's office going to dutifully put on horse blinders in looking at the Trump administration rather than conducting a historical perspective?
It's worth noting that, in a prior life, Fine was inspector general of the Department of Justice (DOJ) from 2000 to 2011. At the time, DOJ had oversight responsibility for the Immigration and Naturalization Service — including its subordinate organization, the U.S. Border Patrol, in support of which those troops were deployed. He didn't seem to feel any need to conduct any inquiry during those long 11 years. It's also worth noting that Fine was nominated to his current position by Barack Obama in 2016.
I can hardly imagine how Fine's office might legitimately come up with shortcomings without implicitly suggesting that, as DOJ IG, he was negligent for not having investigated the prior deployments.