An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said on Wednesday that the agency “will not enforce” a subpoena that demanded BuzzFeed News reveal its sources for its reporting on a program that would “fast-track” deportation and fine undocumented immigrants.
“On December 4, 2020, a summons was issued by one of our field offices to Buzzfeed, Inc. Office of General Counsel requesting information related to an allegation of potential ICE employee misconduct. In response to the summons, the media outlet subsequently declined to provide details regarding the sources of the unauthorized disclosure of law enforcement sensitive information. At this time, ICE will not enforce the summons and will pursue the investigation through other channels,” an ICE spokesperson said in a statement to TheWrap.
Last week, BuzzFeed News said the summons it received demanded that the outlet “provide all documentation including, but not limited to: (1) date of receipt, (2) method of receipt, (3) source of document and (4) contact information for the source of the document” regarding emails sent to ICE attorneys in an attempt to uncover BuzzFeed’s sources.
It’s not immediately clear how the agency will pursue the investigation “through other channels,” but a BuzzFeed News spokesperson told TheWrap that ICE has not withdrawn its subpoena.
“Until ICE withdraws its subpoena completely, its stance toward the free press remains the same: anti-American, unconstitutional and grossly inappropriate,” Matt Mittenthal, the BuzzFeed News spokesperson, said.