Last week I wrote about the 2016 edition of the annual Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport tour conducted for Somalis only by officers of Customs and Border Protection in the Department of Homeland Security. The tour gives local Somali Muslim community leaders a behind the scenes look at security and processing at the airport. The post and the redacted documents provided by CBP in response to my FOIA request are here.
I wrote to CBP seeking a spokesman or officer who would give me background on the purpose and rationale of the annual tours and other similar tours, if any. I heard back from CBP public affairs officer Kris Grogan, whom I had been directed to last year. He wrote me last week in response to my inquiry to CBP:
The answers to your questions were answered in our correspondence that I sent to you in March of 2016. I believe that correspondence was also included in your FOIA request that you received. [Ed.: It wasn’t. Putting the withheld documents and redactions to one side, CBP’s FOIA response is still incomplete.]
Every year CBP conducts numerous events and programs around the country in which civic, religious and community leaders, as well as interested residents, are afforded an inside look at how CBP secures the border at and between ports of entries. CBP is committed to fostering a positive relationship within the communities we live and serve.
I wrote back:
Can you tell me what other groups receive annual tours of the secure areas at MSP Airport such as this one? How can I get myself invited?
Do you have any reason to think that invitees who don’t pass vetting (such as the disinvited imam) don’t get information from the vetted guests?
I have yet to hear back from Mr. Grogan on any of these questions.