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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Americans Searched on a Hunch? DHS Reaffirms Broad Power

Daniel Jackson

The Department of Homeland Security has reaffirmed their belief that they have the power to conduct unwarranted electronic surveillance on American citizens returning to the country, based on nothing more than a hunch.

The data taken from electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops can then be copied and saved by Homeland Security.

Despite widespread outrage from civil liberties groups such as the ACLU, Homeland Security's own internal study shows that they plan to continue the practice and are using scary words such as terrorism and child pornography to justify it.

recent report by a local CBS affiliate in Washington D.C. outlined the study:
The 23-page report, obtained by The Associated Press and the American Civil Liberties Union under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, provides a rare glimpse of the Obama administration’s thinking on the long-standing but controversial practice of border agents and immigration officers searching and in some cases holding for weeks or months the digital devices of anyone trying to enter the U.S. 
Since his election, President Barack Obama has taken an expansive view of legal authorities in the name of national security, asserting that he can order the deaths of U.S. citizens abroad who are suspected of terrorism without involvement by courts, investigate reporters as criminals and — in this case — read and copy the contents of computers carried by U.S. travelers without a good reason to suspect wrongdoing. 
The DHS study, dated December 2011, said the border searches do not violate the First or Fourth amendments, which prohibit restrictions on speech and unreasonable searches and seizures. 
It specifically objected to a tougher standard in a 1986 government policy that allowed for only cursory review of a traveler’s documents.
The study then goes on to ludicrously claim that if border agents were not allowed to search anyone they chose based off of a personal hunch, then they would be handicapped in their job due to searches having to be formally defended. In other words, agents simply cannot hassle themselves with worry about the Constitutional rights of American citizens.
“We do not believe that this 1986 approach, or a reasonable suspicion requirement in any other form, would improve current policy,” the report said. “Officers might hesitate to search an individual’s device without the presence of articulable factors capable of being formally defended, despite having an intuition or hunch based on experience that justified a search.” 
It added: “An on-the-spot perusal of electronic devices following the procedures established in 1986 could well result in a delay of days or weeks.” 
The U.S. government has always maintained that anything a person carries across the border — a backpack, a laptop, or anything hidden in a person’s body — is fair game to be searched as a means of keeping drugs, child pornography and other dangerous goods out of the country, and to enforce import laws. But as more Americans enter the U.S. with sophisticated computers, thumb drives, smartphones, cameras and other electronic devices that hold vast amounts of information about who they are and how they conduct business, privacy rights advocates have pressed for more checks on such authority, particularly if digital files are copied and shared with other federal agencies, such as the FBI.
This continued power grab by Homeland Security comes despite pleas from concerned citizens and lawsuits by civil rights organizations that contend the searches are nothing more than a form of racial profiling that clearly violates the 4th Amendment.

Keep in mind, this same agency has also purchased billions of rounds of ammunition that many believe is planned for use on American soil. To top it off, allied agencies such as the IRS and the Obama White House themselves have also grabbed broad-reaching powers that include targeting conservatives and generally tracking their political enemies by any and all means.

The path has been set and it is not a pretty one. If the American people continue to allow Gestapo-like agencies such as the DHS to grab more and more power, one day the freedoms we once cherished will be a thing of the past, replaced by what is starting to be known as the American police state.

Daniel Jackson is a seasoned journalist with a passion for exposing corruption and the lies of the global elite. DJ has a passion for truth and liberty that is shown through his extensive reporting on numerous globally significant topics not normally covered by the corporate controlled media. He is is a writer, researcher and editor for The Daily Sheeple where this article first appeared. Wake the flock up!

For some additional background to this ongoing battle please read:
Federal Appeals Court Limits Warrantless Border Confiscation and Searches of Mobile Devices

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