The ACLU has filed suit on behalf of FDL blogger David House, the friend of Bradley Manning who had his laptop seized by Homeland Security agents last November.
The ACLU suit charges that the government abused its powers to enforce customs and immigration laws at international airports by taking House’s computer without either a warrant, or reasonable suspicion. Being harassed at airports for hours by the FBI, Homeland Security and immigration agents is a regular occurrence for David. Every time he travels in or out of the country I’m always anxious until I hear that this time isn’t the time they decide to accelerate their harassment with some new abuse of power.
Ellen Nakashima broke the story in the Washington Post this morning:
The George W. Bush and Obama administrations have taken the position that searching a laptop is no different than examining a suitcase, and that such a search requires no suspicion.
David House, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald and FDL’s Michael Whitney were just a few of the people targeted last fall by defense contractors HB Gary, Palantir and Berico, as well as the law firms Hunton and Williams and Booz Allen, for harassment and intimidation. Bank of America, at the direction of the Justice Department, contacted Hunton and Williams to act as a cutout to protect the company from exposure to illegal activities behind a wall of “attorney client privilege.” Wikileaks has indicated in the past that they have a hard drive full of internal files of a big bank, and there has been speculation that it is Bank of America.
The harassment of House and others is part of a pattern of government abuse of power, designed to threaten and intimidate its critics. Everyone who values their right to free speech should be concerned about the government actions that the suit addresses.
David joins us in the comments to talk about the suit.