Saturday, January 23, 2010

Small Victory Over the Border Bullies: Knife Tricks Refuses To Answer Homeland Security’s Questions


San Francisco

“None of your business,” I said.

The Customs and Border Protection officer looked up. He had asked what my job was, and I had responded.

“You having a bad day?” he asked.

“I’m not required to undergo an interrogation as a pre-condition of re-entering my own country,” I said.

The officer, a younger blond man who was sitting at passport control at San Francisco International Airport, started to type into his computer. He no doubt was memorializing the interaction in some Department of Homeland Security database. Finally, he wrote “BGC” on my customs declaration form and directed me to a secondary inspection station.

Another CBP officer, a younger Chinese man, tried to be all friendly and chatty. “So, you’re coming back from a typical business trip to China?” “How long were you in Hong Kong?” Etc .

I didn’t respond, except for one time when he asked me if there was anything sharp or pointy in my bag and I said No. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have answered; if a person volunteers for a job rifling through the bags of law-abiding citizens, that person assumes the risk of mechanical pencils and staple removers.

He searched my luggage and waived me through.

My lack of cooperation may seem juvenile or unwise, but it is, to my mind, necessary. The U.S. government has no authority to compel citizens to orally answer questions as a pre-condition of re-entry. Issues such as your foreign destinations, the dates of your travel, your occupation and who you met are none of their damned business.

Of course, the border bullies can’t stand it if you exercise your rights. Many of the street thugs who applied for DHS jobs get off on the power, and they punish those who refuse to genuflect before them. For example, earlier this month, journalist Michael Yon was detained and handcuffed for refusing the answer an inquiry about his income – another topic which is NOTB.

I won’t answer these people’s questions. Maybe you shouldn't either.


Pictured: CBP officers engaged in security measures which, since 9/11, have resulted in the arrest of not one would-be terrorist.

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1 Comments:

Blogger statboy3000 said...

Good on you for standing up for yourself against these petty despots, Paul! Did you read that Michael Yon was arrested at the Seattle airport for refusing to answer questions at about how much money he makes?

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/01/05/war-blogger-michael.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+boingboing%2FiBag+(Boing+Boing)

2:39 AM  

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