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Leann DeHart responds to inaccurate US border agency press release

The US Customs and Border Protection agency issued a press release yesterday regarding Matt DeHart’s departure from Canada and subsequent arrest by US authorities. However, as the National Post‘s Adrian Humphreys noted, the CBP has “wrong information in their release about the facts of Matt’s Removal.” Furthermore, it reveals the extent to which the US and Canada cooperate on intelligence matters.

First, the release claims that USCBP “arrested a traveler” after he “attempted to enter Canada.” In fact, as US authorities well know, DeHart had been residing in Canada since April 2013, when he and his family crossed the border from the US to seek asylum because they feared US persecution after Matt had been tortured by the FBI.

CPB’s spokesperson Rose Hilmey then said, “We work very closely with our Canadian counterparts”, a reminder that the Five Eyes‘ close intelligence relationship is very much a factor in this case.

The CPB then stated that DeHart was “taken into FBI custody after a warrant and extradition were confirmed.” In fact Matt was deported, not extradited — two very different processes. Extradition is a process that would have been instigated by US authorities, whereas in Matt’s case he was deported at the behest of the Canadian authorities after he failed in his bid for refugee status and protection under the UN Convention on Torture.

This is significant, because if the US authorities had instigated extradition proceedings against Matt, they would have been forced to show their hand and file all charges before extradition was considered by the Canadian government. However, since Matt was deported, it leaves the door open for more charges to be filed. This is of concern to Matt and his legal team, since although Matt currently faces child pornography charges in the US — charges Matt vehemently denies — during the extensive FBI interrogation sessions Matt endured, all the questions the agents asked were about Matt’s work with Anonymous, his connection to WikiLeaks, his former colleagues in the military, and issues related to national security. Because Matt was deported rather than extradited, it is still possible therefore that espionage charges could be filed.

Matt’s mother, Leann DeHart, responded in a statement:

After reading the piece by the US Customs and Border Patrol, I felt dismayed and saddened. My son was deported not extradited. That’s a huge difference. Obviously there wasn’t enough concern for Canadian welfare if the DOJ never provided an extradition request. My son was deported because the assumption was made that he could find justice and remedy for his mistreatment and alleged charges in the US. I asked myself why would US law enforcement report obvious inaccuracies. Why would US law enforcement use inflammatory language like child pornographer when that allegation has not been proven? Since information is shared so easily, why wasn’t the fact that my son was seeking asylum for torture reported? Why would you report inaccuracies without the facts? It seems US law enforcement can report inaccuracies as truth. Yes, I felt dismayed and saddened because it is a typical pattern by US law enforcement to ignore what doesn’t fit their narrative. Am I surprised? No, I’m just continually dismayed and saddened.