Goodbye Fourth Amendment: Homeland Security Affirms "Suspicionless" Confiscation Of Devices Along Border

Tyler Durden's picture

Slowly but surely the administration is making sure that both the US constitution, and its various amendments, become a thing of the past. In the name of national security, of course. And while until now it was the First and Second amendments that were the target of the administration's ongoing efforts to eavesdrop on anyone, all the time, in order to decide who may be a domestic terrorist and thus fit for 'droning', coupled with an aggressive push to disarm and curtail the propagation of weapons in what some perceive is nothing more than an attempt to take away a population's one recourse to defend itself against a tyrannical government, the time may be coming to say goodbye to the Fourth amendment - the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures - next. But only in close proximity to the border at first. According to Wired, "the Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security."

More on America's quest, by a very select few, to one by one extinguish its civil liberties from Wired:

The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.


“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,” the executive summary said.


The memo highlights the friction between today’s reality that electronic devices have become virtual extensions of ourselves housing everything from e-mail to instant-message chats to photos and our papers and effects — juxtaposed against the government’s stated quest for national security.

And before this becomes yet another red vs blue scream fest, where the underlying fact is ignored in the name of proving the validity of one's ideological convictions, the reality is that the eradication of the Fourth Amendment started with Bush, and has merely accelerated under Obama.

The President George W. Bush administration first announced the suspicionless, electronics search rules in 2008. The President Barack Obama administration followed up with virtually the same rules a year later. Between 2008 and 2010, 6,500 persons had their electronic devices searched along the U.S. border, according to DHS data.

What does this decision mean in principle:

According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border. By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s actual border.

100 miles today, 1,000 miles tomorrow, and the entire nation the day after. Though no need: as the attached map also from Wired shows, the "borders" in question include maritime as well, and with the bulk of the US population concentrated along the coasts, the "constitution free" zone of the US includes virtually everyone living on the two seaboards: some 66% of the US population!

For those still confused, luckily there is a case study:

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.

First they came for your iPad, and nobody said anything...

In other news, the rest of the world now openly hates America for its relentless and ever accelerating loss of freedoms. All "in the name of the national security" bogeyman of course.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
CH1's picture

Foreigners more so.

Son of Loki's picture

Does not apply to any foreigner coming here to buy a $2 million (or higher) California house. They get an exemption.

Vlad Tepid's picture

Foreigners too.  BTW, Just tell them to Skype and avoid the mind bending hassles of the new visa system, being fondled by perverts in the "security" line, and being spit on by the harridans who prowl the US skies in the guise of whizened stewardesses.

NidStyles's picture

At least I'm not the only one that noticed that US domestic stewardesses were all old hags.

Tom_333's picture

It does apply to foreign nationals as well.

Bad Attitude's picture

I've got a Canadian friend who has had his laptop searched by ICE along the Canadian border. He now only travels with a sterile laptop, and VPNs into his own servers to access his data.

john39's picture

stop and frisk in New York...  been happening for awhile.  

NuYawkFrankie's picture

Yes - especially to attractive 25yr-old females with big tits

CH1's picture

stop and frisk... especially to attractive 25yr-old females...


Actually, it's mostly young guys, frequently darker-skinned, who don't look like they can afford a lawyer.

Don't call them cops in NY - call them Predators.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Talk to any attractive woman who flies frequently, and ask them how much "special attention" they get from the TSA. Saw it firsthand when I was traveling with an extremely attractive 24-year-old colleague a few years ago. I breezed through the line, then had to wait 10 mins while my colleague got her luggage searched with a fine tooth comb.

A Lunatic's picture

Is Obama gonna pay my bills or not??

NidStyles's picture

If you are registered here, you are likely a suspect already.

plaspotje's picture

i truly enjoyed living in the usa for 22 year, but than after 911 it went down hill very fast, entering the usa with finger and eye scan's is truly beyond hitlers wildest dreams,, and this country with its money handlers/wallstreet/and government is not even close to being done.

i live in china now and next year return to holland, until the great people of the usa take back their country, i would not dare to visit it again, the unknown of having held a greencard for 22 years, scares the living shit out of me.

Americans, you are great people, but how could you have let it get this far. 

reader2010's picture

We have proudly traded liberty for handouts and illusion of "security",  just like the Romans did 2000 plus years before us. There is no escape for you though, after all, it's the same NWO.

Terminus C's picture

I will not travel to the US.

Tango in the Blight's picture

Me neither. Been there once in the '90s but will not visit again until after the revolution.

TNTARG's picture

See, I read this comments and I think back to 2002. I went to the US for postgraduate studies. Since the moment I had to go to the US Embassy to get my visa I could see all this. People with brown hair and skin wouldn't get it: I'm blonde so I had it inmediately. It was unbelievable. Outreageous. While I was waiting for my papers in a small square room with no chairs, full of people, I sat on the floor. An officer came inmediately and said "stand up, you can't sit on the floor". I'd replied: "Put some chairs here" and he slightly glanced at me.

Then I flyed and they made me undress on arrival. There in the States, I had this feeling of being in nazi's Germany: exactly what my partisan grandfhater had told me about.  American flags were even in the soup. Military, cops, all over. Not to speak what happened at the University. It was nightmare.

One of those days I felt so sick I couldn't go to the university. Could'nt stop vomiting.

I got better only when I entered the Aerolineas Argentina's plane to fly back. It was so sad, so overwhealming. Even at the time I felt it was better living in defaulted Argentina than in the US. Kissed my patagonian soil right after landing.

You need some kind of revolution there. Do not surrender your 2nd. amm. rights, my friends. It's not only the awful life you're living, it's also the way you're used to smash people all over the World and to support their horrendous power structure.

You have no enemies outside the US: your enemy is fully among you, it's the power running the House (and the FED!).

Stuntgirl's picture

Oh, you brought back memories.
I travelled often in/out of the USA around 2001.

I'm also blonde, so I got my paperwork and visas immediately. But I got used to waiting outside of airports for my uni friends whenever we flew together, as they were either darker or had an accent.

One day I asked to remain with my friend for the few hours the search and background check would take, instead of waiting outside the airport. Bad move.

Until then, I had seen cops as just regular dudes doing their jobs, however misguided their orders were. That's when I learned all about being treated like a subhuman piece of trash who needs to justify the air they breathe.


howenlink's picture

Searching for scissors with too many clips.

blindman's picture

Martin Armstrong at the Bangkok Rotary Club
Posted on February 8, 2013 by TearsOfTheMoon
The speech Jacob Coxey (almost) never gave
November 13, 2011 Jeff

When participants in Coxey’s Army (estimated at 500 people) reached Washington on May 1, 1894, having started their march in Massillon, Ohio, they were met by 1500 soldiers, with more on call in case of trouble. When Jacob Coxey went to speak, he was arrested for walking on the grass.

It is particularly interesting to think that he was arrested while reading the first two paragraphs…

May 1, 1894

The Constitution of the United States guarantees to all citizens the right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances, and furthermore declares that the right of free speech shall not be abridged.

We stand here to-day to test these guaranties of our Constitution. We choose this place of assemblage because it is the property of the people, and if it be true that the right of the people to peacefully assemble upon their own premises and utter their petitions has been abridged by the passage of laws in direct violation of the Constitution, we are here to draw the eyes of the entire nation to this shameful fact. Here rather than at any other spot upon the continent it is fitting that we should come to mourn over our dead liberties and by our protest arouse the imperiled nation to such action as shall rescue the Constitution and resurrect our liberties.

Upon these steps where we stand has been spread a carpet for the royal feet of a foreign princess, the cost of whose lavish entertainment was taken from the public Treasury without the consent or the approval of the people. Up these steps the lobbyists of trusts and corporations have passed unchallenged on their way to committee rooms, access to which we, the representatives of the toiling wealth-producers, have been denied. We stand here to-day in behalf of millions of toilers whose petitions have been buried in committee rooms, whose prayers have been unresponded to, and whose opportunities for honest, remunerative, productive labor have been taken from them by unjust legislation, which protects idlers, speculators, and gamblers: we come to remind the Congress here assembled of the declaration of a United States Senator, “that for a quarter of a century the rich have been growing richer, the poor poorer, and that by the close of the present century the middle class will have disappeared as the struggle for existence becomes fierce and relentless.”
" ...

jeff montanye's picture

that's the problem with 500 people.  with 500,000 they do more watching.

but your point is well taken.

Captain Kink's picture

so these guys were zh'ers in 1894.  the state is winning the whole way...your post, while informative and inspiriing also just makes me sad.  Will constitutionalists a hundred years from now be eulogising what we do now, still as defeated and enslaved as we are now and Coxey was then?

When is this long struggle against the monster of the state have we ever gained ground?  

blindman's picture

march 1st, 2013. let us all, 300 plus million, meet
in washington d.c. and figure it out! rain date ...
april 1st, 2013. then june 1st .... for the present
population and posterity the whole world round. maybe it
is the the time for the american population to stand up
and be heard?
it might result in marshal law being imposed in d.c.,
oh well. that is apparently up to the powers that be
for those who cannot travel, in sympathy, show up at
your local adminstrative buildings and deliver the
public address of your life ! plenty of material to
mine on the internet, plenty of relevant history and
current events to site.
Helen Caldicott - The Truth About Fukushima - Nsearch Radio
America's 2nd Revolutionary War
remember, keep it peaceful, otherwise you arm the adversary and
supply them with the illusion of justification and that is
an important illusion to respect.
Fifty-four Nations Are Implicated in a CIA Torture Scheme
is this the legacy of leadership for which the american people will
be remembered in history? in whos name? in my name?
The Great Imposition
The Forced Involuntary Servitude of America
by Preston James

Obviously the offshore Banksters operating out of the City of London Financial District (the “Great Draco” or “Dragon”) do not want to maintain a visible role. They desire to stay in the background avoiding public disclosure as the “string pullers” or the master controllers, the Oz behind the curtain”. They know that if fully and openly exposed to the American public their power would be eroded and crushed within a generation as the average American Joe would identify them as their complete enemy within the gates and the usurper of the US Constitution And Bill of Rights. They would quickly come to view these offshore Banksters as what they really are once the curtain is pulled back, blood sucking, asset stripping parasites attempting to destroy America and take it back in a cover replay of the American revolution or the War of 1812. They tried hard again with the Civil War and lost and now they are making their big, final play to retake America on their terms which means to forever crush it into pieces which can be easily folded into their evil long planned trans-generational NWO Globalist system.
" ..
"Chris Hedges: “We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.”

NidStyles's picture

Constitutionalists will lose, but not Liberty itself.

Sean7k's picture

The fourth amendment was pretty much shredded already, with the police allowed to enter your house without cause and it being against the law to shoot them when they do. Anything DHS does should be illegal. The tenth amendment is toothless, the first is a pipe dream and the second is on the run. The executive creates legislation and starts wars, the Supremes show up long enough to legitimize it and Congress just plays with themselves.

The Constitution is a contract and the government has broken the contract. Therefore, we don't owe them ANYTHING, but our scorn, ridicule and bullets.


Totentänzerlied's picture

I never signed that contract, nor authorized any party to sign for me, and neither did anyone I've ever met.

holdbuysell's picture

"By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s actual border."

And according to one of the referenced Wired articles, that border encompasses pretty much ALL of the highly populated areas on the coasts. See the graphic here (the color-coding on the graphic is misleading IMO, but the stat in the lower right sounds about right):

Cast Iron Skillet's picture

Are airports with international connections considered to be "borders"? If so, the orange areas on the map could be extended considerably.

Totentänzerlied's picture

The map's highlighted region includes about 50% of the population. And about 80% of the liberal population.

Tom_333's picture

They refuse to understand what has happened to them.As well.

Just heard that the head of "We Are Change" in NJ got himself arrested.Being in possession of a handgun.He apparently had a tenant that he shared the flat with and the guy called the cops because the heating wasn´t working.It was way too cold in the flat for comfort ( this the US...?). When the guy was abruptly awakend by someone he mistook for a prowler he bumped into a police officer.He immidiately put away his gun but was out of luck and the gun was noticed.Apparently the reg number didn´t match what was on record...clerical error.? now he´s locked up with a possibility for doing real time.

This will sooner or later happen to the obamanoids.Those that are a tiny piece out of luck. Whine about it then.Won´t help.

NidStyles's picture

The same guy that was probably all about gun control too....

blindman's picture
Governments, corps, cops, and crims want them--privacy lovers left and right don't

The drone-industrial complex wants 30,000 eyes in the sky spying on us Americans by 2020
bob said ....
30,000 should just about do it, sea to shining sea:
then ..
and who is paying for all this? oh, never mind.
omniscience and omnipotence from the sky directed
by moral and ethical mutants from the sewer of a lawless,
and fraud based, anxiety insider club. how can this be?

lolmao500's picture

DHS : we need to know who is reading and watching what in order to keep the terrorists out and protect our morality.

/this was actually from GTA4 radio, where a fake talk show host was doing a big big big parody... well guess what, parody is now reality.

notadouche's picture

The biggest difference betwwen the action of Bush and the acceleration of Obama is that the Times and other like minded media outlets were up in arms (and rightfully so) when Bush put first put the policy in place but sadly remained mum once the acceleration process began.

the grateful unemployed's picture

thats because obama is the president of the people

bunnyswanson's picture

Correction:  Obama is the president of the Indonesian people.

Redistributing the wealth was this man's goal and by god, he's doing it to developing nations, his old stomping grounds.

"PBS’s “Frontline” published the transcript from a June 27, 2012 interview with Kristen Caldwell, a woman who grew up with President Barack Obama and attended the Punahou School with him in Honolulu, Hawaii. Among other claims, she told PBS that, as a young child, Obama told his classmates that he was Kenyan royalty or an Indonesian prince — fascinating claims that she discussed in great detail."

the grateful unemployed's picture

so you store your data somewhere else, and you put a mission impossible self destruct mechanism on your hard drive

skunzie's picture

I don't worry too much any longer.  I know exactly how I will die now; at the hands of some "brown shirted" individual with a gun.  My only hope is that the little cretin will know how to shoot correctly so as to make the end fairly painless.  The USA was a great place to live for much of my 56 years on this planet.  Now, not so much.

Cheesy Bastard's picture

My hope is that you will know how to shoot correctly, so you will take some of them with you.  I will.

bunnyswanson's picture

I was touring ancient ruins in Italy and came to a village with a huge catapult on display.  It was here that I had a flashback of having been here before, as a toddler, and that I died quite young (trampled by horse).

I am not a mystical person.  I am not religiously oriented in any particular way.  I have spend no more than a couple minutes considering the possibilities of a spiritual world because it is too abstract and who has the time?  But this moment was real to me.  Happened about 15 years ago.  I will never forget how familiar it felt (wanted to play in the dirt, as if to resume where I was when I was last there).  Soudns crazy but who knows.  Leave this world like you'll be returning one day is now my philosophy. Karma baby!


Parrotile's picture

Perhaps you need to visit the following website.

Whether you choose to believe this or not, it is nevertheless an interesting read, which ties in nicely with many non-Western views on what may constitute "An Afterlife".

ptoemmes's picture

ALL of Florida, huh.  NO place to hide...

Jack Burton's picture

What should really scare you is the kind of person who seeks and gets hired for one of these highly paid and power laden government security jobs. We have hired hundreds of thousands of grade A assholes and a collection of useless pricks who can't find a productive private sector job. These are the people who mainly fill the ranks of the new national security police. Ever wonder why arriving in America from a foreign trip now sends a chill down your spine. Hell, I have entered the old Soviet Union several times and had a less bad experince than the last time I came back to the USA from an extended stay in Sweden and tried to clear passport and customs at Minneapolis airport. The passport guy was a world class prick and the customs swarmed over me like ants at a picnic. All for the crime of visiting Sweden. I have grown to hate what this country is becoming, one day I will explode and tell these useless pricks who are our security police just what I think of them. Then I will be well and truely screwed over, but how long can you keep silent when confronted with overpaid, underworked, useless, lazy, overpaid cunts!

Obama4Ever's picture

And I bet you dutifully pay your taxes though. If you help finance the state I don't see how you can complain about it.

Parrotile's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the USSA it's a case of "Pay your Taxes, or you're on the No Fly List"?

If you have business interests overseas it'll make better economic sense to cough up and be done with it. Otherwise your overseas business interests will not be seeing you anytime soon.

Titus's picture

The last time I flew into LA I had a latino repeatedly ask me: "Joo born here mane?" I think was asking if I was born in the USA. I'm quite sure he wasn't born in the borders given that I couldn't understand him. 

The foreigner stood between me and legal entry into the USA and couldn't properly speak English to inquire about the location of my birth. 

I regularly fly around the former USSR, Europe, and some muslim countries and do not get hastled anywhere like the USA.

Now I HATE FLYING TO THE USA. Even domestically the DHS & border patrol are worse than entering international anywhere else (except maybe Israel), as long as you're white and paid for a plain ticket. I've heard it's quite easy to run the border from Mexico, especially if you have a backpack full of drugs. 

goldenbuddha454's picture

Agreed, flying domestically sucks!  I always, always, always, 'opt out' on those damned X-Ray full body image machines too.  If you believe the govt. that they are harmless then go ahead and get in.  I for one have read many articles that say radiation is cumulative in your body over a lifetime of being exposed.  There's enough cancer in this country without another man-made machine contributing to it.