A former Border Patrol agent criticized the federal agency's internal culture, accusing it of promoting an environment of abuse and corruption. Since leaving the agency in 2001, Jenn Budd has become an advocate for migrants and is demanding accountability from her former employer.
"It took me about 15 years really to think about what I had done in the agency," Budd told CBSN anchor Lana Zak on Wednesday. "The policies that I was enforcing, the laws that I was enforcing. Honestly, I had a lot of PTSD from when I was in the Border Patrol."
Budd recently detailed her Border Patrol experience to the San Diego Union-Tribune, where she described being raped by a colleague and consistently retaliated against because of her gender.
"The reality of what the Border Patrol culture is, is far different than what they portray to the outside world," she said. "Frankly, I don't see how anybody can listen to what this agency says when they've. For me, that's a line that should have never been crossed, and I don't trust them."
Budd said her tipping point was when she was shot at during an overnight patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border. The incident happened after she had investigated a high-ranking agent for smuggling narcotics. After she called for backup, the agent showed up and asked if she had "learned my lesson," Budd said.
"It was obvious to me that he set that up, but I don't know who was doing the shooting," Budd said.
Budd said Border Patrol leadership would not let her turn in the agent to the FBI or the Drug Enforcement Agency over the smuggling allegations. She says they instead offered her a promotion that she declined. She quit after six years with the agency.
"That fact is, even their own [Customs and Border Protection] commissioner of internal affairs, James Tomsheck, stated that that agency is the most corrupt agency in the United States. They have a narcissistic mentality. They refuse to admit any of the wrongs, claim they aren't racist, that they aren't sexist, that they don't have a rape culture," Budd said.
The border agency removed Tomsheck from his role in 2014 amid criticism that he failed to investigate allegations of inappropriate use of force by border agents. Tomsheck said his efforts to investigate abuse and corruption were hindered by the agency, which he said believed that they were above the law.
Customs and Border Protection pushed back on Budd's characterizations.
"Allegations of abuse and corruption are taken very seriously as the slightest hint erodes public confidence and subverts the Border Patrol's ability to effectively accomplish its mission," an agency statement said.
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