The Associated Press dropped the ball Friday with a supposed scoop alleging President Trump is considering deploying approximately 100,000 National Guard units to round up illegal immigrants.
The Department of Homeland Security is considering no such thing, an agency spokeswoman said following the report's publication. Further, they said, the DHS memo on which the entire story hinges was only an early, pre-decision draft, and it wasn't written by the agency's secretary, John F. Kelly.
This is the exact opposite of what the AP reported.
The draft memo obtained by the news agency didn't specifically suggest nationalizing the National Guard. The draft memo also never used the 100,000 figure cited by the AP, though it's possible the news group came to that number by tallying the National Guard units currently stationed in the 11 states where they would supposedly be used to crack down on illegal immigration. The report doesn't explain this.
Also, to be clear, the word "deportation" is never used in the memo. As far as National Guard troops are concerned, the memo only floats the idea of giving them the authority to assist in the "investigation, apprehension and detention" of criminal aliens.
Lastly, there is nothing in the AP report indicating the president was ever aware of any such proposal.
In short, the story is the exact opposite of enlightening.
"We stand by our reporting," the group's spokeswoman, Laura Easton, told the Washington Examiner.
The article's original headline read Friday morning, "Trump weighs mobilizing Nat Guard for immigration roundups."
The opening paragraph read, " The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border …"
The global newswire said elsewhere in an alert on social media, "BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants."
Reporters and pundits reacted with the usual mixture of shock, horror, dismay and lots of allusions to the Nazis.
"This isn't going to end well. Remember Yellow Badge and Jews?" said Agence France-Presse's Vishal Manve.
Gigantic magazine editor Lincoln Michel remarked elsewhere, "Yes, you are a literal Nazi if you support this."
"This would literally lead families and children hiding in attics. Again, we've seen this before," said the New York Daily News' senior justice writer Shaun King.
White House and DHS officials fiercely disputed the report immediately following its publication Friday morning.
"The report referenced by the AP was a very early, pre-decisional draft that never made it to the Secretary," DHS said.
The federal agency confirmed the memo's authenticity Friday. They also said it was "never seriously considered."
The AP original report on the matter did not include a copy of the draft memo. It was on journalists at competing newsrooms to get ahold of the document to see for themselves what was supposedly floated by government officials. Unfortunately for the AP, what reporters found didn't quite match up with what was reported.
The news group responded to criticism of its reporting Friday by stressing it contacted the White House prior to publishing the story. The AP said its requests for clarity went unanswered.
"AP reached out to the White House repeatedly beginning 24 hours before publishing this story and also asked the Department of Homeland Security for comment prior to publication," Easton told the Examiner.
Though the news group reportedly gave the White House 24 hours to respond, it didn't extend the same courtesy to DHS. The federal agency wasn't contacted for comment until the morning of the story's publication, according to one DHS official and the AP's own reporting.
The AP has since amended its original headline so that it now reads, "DHS weighed Nat Guard for immigration roundups."
But by mid-afternoon Friday, long after the story had been called into question, the news group's social media account was still pushing the headline, "Trump weighs mobilizing National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants in 11 states."
The social media account doubled-down later Friday afternoon, and claimed the draft memo, "proves Trump had considered mobilizing the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants."
Here's a copy of the memo that supposedly reveals Trump's master immigration plan. Focus on the National Guard/287(g) section: