The Iowa Scout troop was crossing over from Canada at Alcan, a port of entry into Alaska. / Mark Zaleski, AP
DES MOINES, Iowa - Federal investigators came to Iowa on Wednesday to sort out the truth about an allegation that a Border Patrol agent held two Boy Scouts at gunpoint at a border checkpoint earlier this month.
The agents showed two Scout leaders a video that one of the leaders says "doesn't match the story that's been presented."
But the other leader, Jim Fox, said he stands with his Boy Scouts.
Fox claims two of his Scouts told him a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer drew his handgun and pointed it at them when the troop crossed over into Alaska from Canada on July 7.
Wednesday, investigators from Border Patrol and the U.S. Inspector General's Office met with Fox and Bob Hopper, who heads the Mid-Iowa Council Boy Scouts of America in Des Moines.
The agents showed Fox and Hopper a 45-minute video with four camera angles. Hopper said the video showed no indication of a Border Patrol agent reaching for, unholstering or pointing a weapon at the Scouts.
Fox didn't see it that way.
"The video is awfully grainy and only has four camera angles," Fox said. "There's no audio. Homeland Security says this proves the boys are lying. It does not."
Fox has regularly declined to let the two Scouts who said they were held at gunpoint speak publicly. He has discouraged those Scouts, both 15, from meeting with federal investigators.
"Absolutely not," Fox said. The agents "are professionals and the boys are just boys. I'm not letting them go in there with them."
The incident began the evening of July 7. Fox, three other adults and 18 Scouts were on a long camping trip from Iowa through the Canadian wilds to Alaska.
When entering the U.S. at Alcan, a port of entry into Alaska on the Canadian border, one of the Scouts took a photograph with a mobile phone.
Border Patrol agents warned the Scout that taking photographs at the port could compromise national security and asked to review the pictures on the phone and delete them.
"Because of what he found on the phone, the agent then searched the vehicle," Hopper said agents told him. Hopper declined to identify what image was on the phone that caused agents to intensify their investigation.
At some point during the search, one of the Scouts climbed atop one of the four vans in the convoy to retrieve his baggage. That's when the Scouts told Fox said a Border Patrol agent drew his weapon and pointed it at them.
Hopper said he didn't see any indication of that in the video they watched in his Des Moines office Wednesday.
"At one point, one of the officers shined a flashlight into one of the vans," Hopper said. "It was after 9 at night, so maybe that was when somebody thought they saw a gun. I don't know."
Also Wednesday, Hopper learned that after the search at the Alaskan port, Border Patrol agents loaned Fox tools to help him fix a flat tire on his van.
"That doesn't seem consistent that one minute you have a gun on somebody and the next minute you're helping them fix a tire," Hopper said.
Fox confirmed the assist in a Tuesday interview, but said it doesn't have anything to do with the other incident.
"So one minute of kindness makes up for rest of it â?? for having a gun pointed at your head?" Fox said Tuesday. "I don't think so."
Hopper said federal investigators would be in town through Friday and had requested to meet with the Scouts who witnessed the incident.
Fox said he will no longer speak with the investigators, but plans to meet with the boys involved in the incident as soon as possible.
Neither Border Patrol nor Inspector General officials would discuss the ongoing investigation.
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Read the original story: Did boys lie about agent's gun? Scout leader says no