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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A group of veteran Voice of America journalists penned a letter to VOA acting director Elez Biberaj saying that Michael Pack, the new CEO of VOA's parent agency, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), is endangering the livelihoods of contract journalists.

Why it matters: Pack has been the center of controversy ever since he took over the agency in June. The letter alleges that Pack's recent remarks in an interview with the conservative-leaning website The Federalist prove his malicious intent.

In the letter, which was first reported by NPR, VOA journalists say they are concerned that the actions taken by Pack and the interviews he has given "endanger the personal security of VOA reporters at home and abroad, as well as threatening to harm U.S. national security objectives."

  • Pack has in recent weeks refused to renew the work visas for dozens of foreign nationals working as journalists in the U.S.
  • "Michael Pack's actions risk crippling programs and projects for some countries that are considered national security priorities. He has ordered the firing of contract journalists, with no valid reason, by cancelling their visas, forcing them back to home countries where the lives of some of them may be in jeopardy," the letter says.

The big picture: Congressional Democrats and Republicans have been crying foul as evidence mounts that USAGM is trying to systematically undermine the agencies it oversees.

  • Since Pack took over the agency, he's made sweeping changes that have created bipartisan concern.
  • Shortly after his nomination was confirmed, he suddenly dismissed all five heads of the agencies within the USAGM.
  • The USAGM is currently being sued by the Open Technology Fund for roughly $20 million in congressionally appropriated funds that the OTF says Pack and the USAGM are intentionally withholding.

Read the letter.

Go deeper: Accusations of hobbling internet freedom fund roil U.S. media agency

Go deeper

Scoop: Open Technology Fund asks Inspector General to investigate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Open Technology Fund is requesting that the U.S. Office of the Inspector General investigate its parent, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), for breaching a firewall provision that is supposed to protect government-funded media agencies from political interference.

The big picture: The move is the latest in a very messy fight between the USAGM and one of the organizations it oversees. Earlier on Monday, journalists at another USAGM agency, Voice of America, wrote a letter to their interim CEO alleging that the new head of USAGM was endangering the agency's reporters.

Salesforce rolls the dice on Slack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce's likely acquisition of workplace messaging service Slack — not yet a done deal but widely anticipated to be announced Tuesday afternoon — represents a big gamble for everyone involved.

For Slack, challenged by competition from Microsoft, the bet is that a deeper-pocketed owner like Salesforce, with wide experience selling into large companies, will help the bottom line.

FBI stats show border cities are among the safest

Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Note: This table includes the eight largest communities on the U.S.-Mexico border and eight other U.S. cities similar in population size and demographics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

U.S. communities along the Mexico border are among the safest in America, with some border cities holding crime rates well below the national average, FBI statistics show.

Why it matters: The latest crime data collected by the FBI from 2019 contradicts the narrative by President Trump and others that the U.S.-Mexico border is a "lawless" region suffering from violence and mayhem.