Constitution-minded Americans gasped when it was revealed that David Miranda (spouse of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald) was detained for over 9 hours by the U.K. authorities today at the London airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000. Journalists and citizens alike were dismayed at Miranda’s mistreatment, demanding an apology from the British government and pushing for immediate legislative reforms that would prevent a recurrence of such a violation.
The truth is, if Miranda was to travel through one of the U.S. ports of entry, under our draconian laws he would likely be abused in an even more profound way. The border search exception is a doctrine of United States criminal law that allows searches and seizures at international borders, sea ports and airports without a warrant or probable cause. Furthermore, there is little doubt at this point that special “Lookout” alerts have been created in TECS, NCIC and Automated Targeting System (ATS), red-flagging Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, their significant others and anyone else suspected of involvement with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. These lookouts were also shared with Interpol and posted to various international law enforcement databases. The U.S. government and its allies consider these brave individuals, their affiliates and their belongings to be “fair game”.