The Department of Homeland Security is leading an internal investigation into the leaks that forced the cancellation of planned U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids last month, as Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan battles allegations he was behind the unauthorized disclosure.
An ICE spokesperson told Fox News on Friday that the agency referred the leak to DHS’s Joint Intake Center after “operational plans” were leaked last month.
The Joint Intake Center (JIC) is the division of the agency that handles and investigated allegations of professional misconduct.
It is unclear, at this point, how long the investigation will last.
An official told Fox News that leaks on plans are sensitive and “jeopardize law enforcement safety.”
A senior administration source also told Fox News Friday that the investigation was opened after a request made by senior ICE officials.
McAleenan has vehemently denied the leak claims. In an interview with Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio last month, he said: "Categorically, I did not and would not leak details of a law enforcement operation."
McAleenan came under fire last month after officials and other sources publicly, and privately, accused him of leaking details of planned ICE deportation raids. The report in question, which was published by Washington Post immigration reporter Nick Miroff, said the raids would take place before dawn in major cities.
A source familiar with the matter told Fox News that McAleenan traveled on a government plane to the border with Miroff less than 24 hours before the story was published. The source also said that when the raids were in a planning phase, McAleenan was opposed and even ordered Morgan to call off the operation -- though Trump told him to proceed. The president, though, put the operation on hold after the leak amid talks with Congress.
The deportation operation was expected to target 2,000 families in up to 10 cities across the country, including Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami.
A senior administration official told Fox News last month that after the alleged leak, "He’s lost the confidence and trust of both the workforce and his superiors, with no viable path to proceed with any confidence and credibility."