The Department of Homeland Security was put in place following the September 11, 2001 attacks against America by President George W. Bush. In doing so, The Executive Branch took over airport security, federalizing workers there. Things went from bad to worse. That move alone was effectively a violation of the Fourth Amendment and yet people, like good little sheep continue going through groping sessions by Federal government employees of the Transportation Security Administration, along with allowing them to rifle through your belongings and scan naked picture of you and your loved ones, resulting in lawsuits and theft of belongings, not to mention Constitutional rights violations. Now they are claiming that can not only feel you up, scan your naked body and take your belongings, but if they desire, they can also confiscate your electronic gadgets and see and take what’s on them. America you gave DHS an inch and now she’s going to take a mile.
In August 2009, DHS released a memo in which it asserted, “The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) will also conduct a Civil Liberties Impact Assessment within 120 days.”
Now, nearly three years later, DHS has released a Civil Rights/ Civil Liberties Impact Assessment, in which they state, “We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits.”
Interestingly enough, they attempt to poison the well on page two by dealing with both the First and Fourth Amendment. The document reads:
The overall authority to conduct border searches without suspicion or warrant is clear and longstanding, and courts have not treated searches of electronic devices any differently than searches of other objects. We conclude that CBP’s and ICE’s current border search policies comply with the Fourth Amendment. We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits. However, we do think that recording more information about why searches are performed would help managers and leadership supervise the use of border search authority, and this is what we recommended; CBP has agreed and has implemented this change beginning in FY2012.
Some critics argue that a heightened level of suspicion should be required before officers search laptop computers in order to avoid chilling First Amendment rights. However, we conclude that the laptop border searches allowed under the ICE and CBP Directives do not violate travelers’
First Amendment rights.
Understand something, Barack Obama is following the same course of action that George W. Bush did in implementing this. Both parties are to blame in this matter of the Department of Homeland Security and the open violation of Constitutional rights.
In fact, you should be made aware that while the recently released document talks about the border, the Federal government considers that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply within 100 miles of the nation’s border. Upon what basis do they do this? It certainly isn’t a Constitutional one. I assume it’s kind of like the abortion issue. They cannot determine when life begins, so it continues to be allowed.
Now DHS are declaring openly and unashamedly that they have no regard for the Constitution or the Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens. In fact, without a warrant and without probable cause they can now legally, but not lawfully, take your laptop, ipad, ipod, cell phone and look at any and all electronic data on it.
Wired, in reporting on this announcement, highlighted a few current issues:
… the ACLU on Friday filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding to see the full report that the executive summary discusses.
Meantime, a lawsuit the ACLU brought on the issue concerns a New York man whose laptop was seized along the Canadian border in 2010 and returned 11 days later after his attorney complained.
At an Amtrak inspection point, Pascal Abidor showed his U.S. passport to a federal agent. He was ordered to move to the cafe car, where they removed his laptop from his luggage and “ordered Mr. Abidor to enter his password,” according to the lawsuit.
Agents asked him about pictures they found on his laptop, which included Hamas and Hezbollah rallies. He explained that he was earning a doctoral degree at a Canadian university on the topic of the modern history of Shiites in Lebanon.
He was handcuffed and then jailed for three hours while the authorities looked through his computer while numerous agents questioned him, according to the suit, which is pending in New York federal court.
Can DHS honestly point to one real person of danger they have actually stopped from committing a crime by violating the rights of hundreds of millions of Americans in the past decade? Nope. But we can point to numerous incidents where criminal activity has existed among employees of the DHS and the TSA. Perhaps, Americans should be the ones to start giving them the third degree since we have “probably cause” based on their record.