“A ‘heat-ray’ designed by the military to make people’s skin feel like it is burning”
In the run up to the November 2018 election President Donald Trump publicly fear-mongered for months about a “caravan” of migrants coming to the U.S. southern border.
“The Caravans are made up of some very tough fighters and people,” Trump tweeted in the days before the election. “Fought back hard and viciously against Mexico at Northern Border before breaking through. Mexican soldiers hurt, were unable, or unwilling to stop Caravan. Should stop them before they reach our Border, but won’t!”
He followed up that fear-mongering with this:
Our military is being mobilized at the Southern Border. Many more troops coming. We will NOT let these Caravans, which are also made up of some very bad thugs and gang members, into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
This was all part of his very public attack on migrants.
Privately, though, President Trump was telling administration officials to take “extreme action.”
On Oct. 22, 2018, “at a meeting with top leaders of the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection officials suggested deploying a microwave weapon — a ‘heat-ray’ designed by the military to make people’s skin feel like it is burning when they get within range of its invisible beams,” The New York Times reports.
The heat ray microwave weapon was developed “by the military as a crowd dispersal tool two decades ago, the Active Denial System had been largely abandoned amid doubts over its effectiveness and morality,” the Times adds.
Two former officials who attended the afternoon meeting at the Homeland Security Department on Oct. 22, 2018, said the suggestion that the device be installed at the border shocked attendees, even if it would have satisfied the president. Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of Homeland Security told an aide after the meeting that she would not authorize the use of such a device, and it should never be brought up again in her presence, the officials said.
Nielsen, who implemented Trump’s family separation policy while denying it even existed, left the administration the following April.
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