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Obama Admin. to retain (another) Bush era policy

Posted by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 2:20 PM
  • 15 Replies

Yet again.. The more things "Change" the more they stay the same.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/27/AR2009082704065.html

 

Bush's Search Policy For Travelers Is Kept

Obama Officials Say Oversight Will Grow

  By Ellen Nakashima

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 28, 2009

The Obama administration will largely preserve Bush-era procedures allowing the government to search -- without suspicion of wrongdoing -- the contents of a traveler's laptop computer, cellphone or other electronic device, although officials said new policies would expand oversight of such inspections.

The policy, disclosed Thursday in a pair of Department of Homeland Security directives, describes more fully than did the Bush administration the procedures by which travelers' laptops, iPods, cameras and other digital devices can be searched and seized when they cross a U.S. border. And it sets time limits for completing searches.

But representatives of civil liberties and travelers groups say they see little substantive difference between the Bush-era policy, which prompted controversy, and this one.

"It's a disappointing ratification of the suspicionless search policy put in place by the Bush administration," said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. "It provides a lot of procedural safeguards, but it doesn't deal with the fundamental problem, which is that under the policy, government officials are free to search people's laptops and cellphones for any reason whatsoever."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano yesterday framed the new policy as an enhancement of oversight. "Keeping Americans safe in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully screen materials entering the United States," she said in a statement. "The new directives announced today strike the balance between respecting the civil liberties and privacy of all travelers while ensuring DHS can take the lawful actions necessary to secure our borders."

For instance, searches conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers should now generally take no more than 5 days, and no more than 30 days for searches by Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents. The directives also require for the first time that automated tools be developed to ensure the reliable tracking of statistics relating to searches, and that audits be conducted periodically to ensure the guidelines are being followed, officials said.

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Such measures drew praise from House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who called the new policy "a major step forward," and from Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), who introduced legislation this year to strengthen protections for travelers whose devices are searched.

But the civil liberties community was disappointed.

"Under the policy begun by Bush and now continued by Obama, the government can open your laptop and read your medical records, financial records, e-mails, work product and personal correspondence -- all without any suspicion of illegal activity," said Elizabeth Goitein, who leads the liberty and national security project at the nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice.

Goitein, formerly a counsel to Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), said the Bush policy itself "broke sharply" with previous Customs directives, which required reasonable suspicion before agents could read the contents of documents. Feingold last year introduced legislation to restore the requirement.

Jack Riepe, spokesman for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, said the guidelines "still have many of the inherent weaknesses" of the Bush-era policy.

Between October 2008 and Aug. 11, more than 221 million travelers passed through CBP checkpoints. About 1,000 laptop searches were performed, only 46 in-depth, the DHS said.

by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 2:20 PM
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Replies (1-10):
sweetie00
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 2:38 PM

Disappointing, yet again. He talks a good talk, but lately....I am really surprised that conservatives aren't warming up to him. He is essentially a center guy. Ran a leftie campaign, governs center. Typical. Although I don't regret my vote. Well, maybe I would have voted Green!

I hope Democrats get some balls. They won! Why cower to the losers? I guess they are all the same. I wish Kucinich were Pres.

 

Ann7227
by Bronze Member on Aug. 28, 2009 at 2:41 PM

I just thank God I didn't vote for him !!!!

sweetie00
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 2:50 PM


Quoting Ann7227:

I just thank God I didn't vote for him !!!!


So you are against these searches? The Patriot Act?

Vampee_Mom
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:04 PM


Quoting sweetie00:

Disappointing, yet again. He talks a good talk, but lately....I am really surprised that conservatives aren't warming up to him. He is essentially a center guy. Ran a leftie campaign, governs center. Typical. Although I don't regret my vote. Well, maybe I would have voted Green!

I hope Democrats get some balls. They won! Why cower to the losers? I guess they are all the same. I wish Kucinich were Pres.


I think that is one of the biggest complaints I hear in my area of Oregon..  "He ran as a leftie" but he is definitely a more of a toe that center line type of Pres.

Kucinich is also someone I like.  He has  some support around here.. But too often I hear  that he's just not electable.

sweetie00
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:12 PM


Quoting Vampee_Mom:

 

Quoting sweetie00:

Disappointing, yet again. He talks a good talk, but lately....I am really surprised that conservatives aren't warming up to him. He is essentially a center guy. Ran a leftie campaign, governs center. Typical. Although I don't regret my vote. Well, maybe I would have voted Green!

I hope Democrats get some balls. They won! Why cower to the losers? I guess they are all the same. I wish Kucinich were Pres.


I think that is one of the biggest complaints I hear in my area of Oregon..  "He ran as a leftie" but he is definitely a more of a toe that center line type of Pres.

Kucinich is also someone I like.  He has  some support around here.. But too often I hear  that he's just not electable.

The truly great ones will never be elected.

Friday
by HRH of MJ on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:13 PM

 Blah, cept for social issues he might as well be Bush. Even those he hasn't done much about. or sends mixed signals.

All the Republicans should be pleased. I wish they would shut up about Socialism, he's obviously another Corporatist.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

Raintree
by Ruby Member on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:15 PM


Quoting sweetie00:


Quoting Vampee_Mom:


Quoting sweetie00:

Disappointing, yet again. He talks a good talk, but lately....I am really surprised that conservatives aren't warming up to him. He is essentially a center guy. Ran a leftie campaign, governs center. Typical. Although I don't regret my vote. Well, maybe I would have voted Green!

I hope Democrats get some balls. They won! Why cower to the losers? I guess they are all the same. I wish Kucinich were Pres.


I think that is one of the biggest complaints I hear in my area of Oregon..  "He ran as a leftie" but he is definitely a more of a toe that center line type of Pres.

Kucinich is also someone I like.  He has  some support around here.. But too often I hear  that he's just not electable.

The truly great ones will never be elected.

Well, and the vegans. Can't have a president who's a vegan;)

The liberal person shall be enriched, and he who waters shall himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25

Sapphire769
by Member on Aug. 28, 2009 at 4:27 PM

I'm still hopeful. I can understand him trying to please everyone, he doesn't want to run the country like a divided country but as a united one. (Unfortunately this won't work, you can't please everyone!) I think it's courageous of him to try and reach across the aisle to republicans to get their opinions on things. Although, after what I've seen going on with the issue of health care reform, I think enough is enough. I'm tired of him trying to please the republican party. He can't please everyone and he needs to do what he thinks is best for this country and stop trying to get an ok from people who want him to fail!

Eilish
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 4:30 PM

See .... Dems and Reps are just different sides of the same coin. Too bad more people to wake up to this reality BEFORE the election.

Gypsyuma
by Gold Member on Aug. 28, 2009 at 4:33 PM

 

 

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