DOJ office sent employees link to racial, anti-Semitic content

Link included in daily news briefing

By Caroline Kelly, CNN
Floyd Yarmuth/CNN

(CNN) - A Department of Justice office will no longer send daily news briefings after it sent its employees, including immigration judges, a briefing that included a link to a blog featuring racial and anti-Semitic slurs, according to the president of an immigration judges union.

The department's Executive Office for Immigration Review sent an office-wide collection of "news" items on Monday -- which the agency says is compiled by a contractor -- that included a link from the white nationalist website VDare, a letter from the union states.

The incident was first reported by BuzzFeed.

Union President Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor confirmed to CNN on Friday that the Justice Department has stopped sending daily news briefings.

The National Association of Immigration Judges wrote in a letter obtained by CNN that several member judges found the content "offensive."

"The August 19, 2019 morning news briefings contained 'news' from a website known for publishing white nationalist ideology and Anti-Semitic tropes," the group wrote. "NAIJ has received numerous complaints from judges across the nation who found the blog offensive and equated having it on the official (office) website to working in a hostile work environment."

The union called VDare "a website that supports white nationalism and has been found to be a 'hate website,' " and requested that the office remove the post, apologize to all employees and prevent such content from appearing in future materials.

Tabaddor added that "we're hopeful that the agency will take immediate corrective action."

Kathryn Mattingly, the assistant press secretary for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, told CNN that the office's morning news briefings sent to employees are compiled by a contractor.

"The blog post should not have been included," she said. "The Department of Justice condemns anti-Semitism in the strongest terms."

Mattingly also confirmed on Friday the end of the office's daily news briefings, reiterating the office stance against anti-Semitism, as well as white nationalism.

"After review of our daily news aggregation emails, we have determined that the sampling was over inclusive and contained non-news sources. EOIR will no longer be distributing a daily news briefing to its staff," she said, adding that "EOIR is not renewing its contract with the private company that provided the news clipping service."

CNN's Paul LeBlanc, Geneva Sands and David Shortell contributed to this report.

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