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The State

Issa Stop for Speeding Confirmed

April 27, 2002|TONY PERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN DIEGO — Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-Vista) was stopped by a Border Patrol agent in December for speeding on Interstate 5, the agency confirmed Friday.

A Border Patrol spokesman said although the agency does not have authority to enforce speeding laws, it sometimes stops motorists who are seen speeding and in some cases detains them until the California Highway Patrol arrives.

The incident involving Issa was first reported in the North County Times, a newspaper in northern San Diego County. The paper said it had received a copy of a Border Patrol memo stating that Issa was stopped Dec. 1 for driving 90 mph near San Clemente, where the speed limit is 65 mph.

The newspaper said the memo indicated that Issa argued with the agent and told him that he did not have authority to stop him for speeding. The Border Patrol declined to release or discuss the memo Friday.

Dale Neugebauer, the first-term congressman's chief of staff, said someone is attempting to embarrass Issa because of legislation he is sponsoring that would make it easier to fire employees of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which includes the Border Patrol. Issa also wants a study done to determine if the San Clemente checkpoint should be closed.

"Obviously, there is a very upset employee who leaked this memo as an act of retaliation," Neugebauer said.

Issa had a separate run-in with authorities last year. On Oct. 4, he was denied permission to board an Air France plane at Washington's Dulles International Airport to accompany another congressman on a 10-day trip to the Middle East.

Issa, who is Lebanese American, said he was the victim of racial profiling. An Air France spokesman said Issa was blocked from the plane because he arrived late.

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