The Department of Homeland Security(DHS) and its stated goal is to prepare for, prevent, and respond to domestic emergencies, particularly terrorism. DHS also is tasked with, the border enforcement functions of the INS, including the U.S. Border Patrol, the U.S. Customs Service.
The DHS has nearly 250,000 employees and yet they have to expand their reach to within 100 miles of the U.S. border? Are they so short staffed at border crossings that this type of action is necessary?
It also might be appropriate and necessary to have DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, and the entirety of her staff become reacquainted with the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment in particular. I’ll summarize:
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.
Yet another instance of our Federal Officials not upholding their oath of office.
(Note: If this topic is something about which you care, please use the Raise Your Voice, link in the right hand column and tell your politician about it!)
The DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties — a watchdog that’s supposed to keep the DHS in check — has concluded that it’s fine for the DHS to stop anyone within 100 miles of the US border, without any suspicion or warrant, and search all the data on all their devices. But they won’t say why:
‚ÄòThere should be a reasonable, articulate reason why the search of our electronic devices could lead to evidence of a crime,‚Äô Catherine Crump, an ACLU staff attorney, said in a telephone interview. ‚ÄòThat‚Äôs a low threshold.‚Äô
The DHS watchdog‚Äôs conclusion isn‚Äôt surprising, as the DHS is taking that position in litigation in which the ACLU is challenging the suspicionless, electronic-device searches and seizures along the nation‚Äôs borders. But that conclusion nevertheless is alarming considering it came from the DHS civil rights watchdog, which maintains its mission is ‚Äòpromoting respect for civil rights and civil liberties.‚Äô
‚ÄòThis is a civil liberties watchdog office. If it is doing its job property, it is supposed to objectively evaluate. It has the power to recommend safeguards to safeguard Americans‚Äô rights,‚Äô Crump said. ‚ÄòThe office has not done that and the public has the right to know why.‚Äô
Toward that goal, the ACLU on Friday filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding to see the full report that the executive summary discusses.
DHS Watchdog OKs ‚ÄòSuspicionless‚Äô Seizure of Electronic Devices Along Border [David Kravets/Wired]
(Via Boing Boing.)