Crossing Borders: Searches Not Optional

I’m sure most people are familiar with the TSA and body scanners, but how many are familiar with ICE? Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is an organization under Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with identifying and securing vulnerabilities regarding border, economic, transportation, and infrastructure within United States territories.

The articles below revolve around David House and his run-in with Homeland Security. Due to his involvement with Bradley Manning, now Chelsea, ICE took interest in Mr. House’s activities and created a TECS alert for questioning related to leak classified information. While returning from vacation, Mr. House was detained and searched by federal agents, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Not only was Mr. House detained and searched, his electronic equipment was seized and not returned for a prolonged period of time, except his phone which was returned in a matter of hours.

One of the articles is from the ACLU and their fight against the Department of Homeland Security in regards to David House’s situation. I found it to be an interesting read on how the US government can violate our rights in the interest of national security.


Hauss, Brian. “Documents Shed Light on Border Laptop Searches.” American Civil Liberties Union, 9 Sept. 2013. Web. 9 Sept. 2013. <;

Stellin, Susan. “The Border Is a Back Door for U.S. Device Searches.” The New York Times Company, 9 Sept. 2013. Web. 9 Sept. 2013. <;


2 thoughts on “Crossing Borders: Searches Not Optional

  1. I’ve read a couple of those ‘horror’ stories of people getting to live through hell because of TSA. Of course, medias tend to cover the uncommon but spectacular stuff, so we get a false sense of likelihood. Still, it makes one wonder about the real contribution of Homeland Security to the security of the American People.

    In France, journalists were able to smuggle a gun onto a plane (

    What is the limit to all this? When does the government cross the line of justice and enter the realm of tyranny? When does civil disobedience becomes the only response?

    Bruce Schneier has called TSA a Security Theater. I wonder, when does the curtain fall?

  2. I definitely agree that these types of actions taken by the government and other organizations violate our civil liberties. If someone is suspected with reasonable cause, the government can get a warrant to search them and I’m pretty sure most of society is fine with this. Just as citizens are obliged to follow rules set forth from them, so do the lawmakers. An electronic device can contain all sorts of information obviously, so by being so broad and simply resorting to these types of “searches at will”, it will only weaken the trust between people, the government or whatever organization that is conducting them.

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