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Kiriakou writes: "Passengers on a Delta Airlines flight from San Francisco to New York last week were compelled by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to show their identification to disembark from the plane. As a matter of law, CBP agents do not have domestic law enforcement authority."

Passengers from SFO to JFK were told they couldn't disembark without showing CBP their 'documents.' (photo: Ann Garrett/Twitter)
Passengers from SFO to JFK were told they couldn't disembark without showing CBP their 'documents.' (photo: Ann Garrett/Twitter)

CPB Demands ID to Get Off Domestic Flight, Not Legal

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

27 February 17


assengers on a Delta Airlines flight from San Francisco to New York last week were compelled by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to show their identification to disembark from the plane. As a matter of law, CBP agents do not have domestic law enforcement authority. They may not order any US citizen to prove citizenship or even show identification in the course of domestic travel. But that’s exactly what they did.

One passenger tweeted, “We were told we couldn’t disembark without showing our ‘documents.’” A Delta flight attendant announced to passengers, “You’ll need to show your papers to agents waiting outside the door.”

After a Rolling Stone reporter pointed out that the agency did not have domestic law enforcement authority, a CBP spokesman said that the action was “nothing new” and that there was “no new policy.” When the reporter persisted, the spokesman read CBP’s authorities from the US Code, saying, “All persons, baggage, and merchandise arriving in the Customs territory of the United States from places outside thereof are liable to inspection by a CBP officer … CBP has the authority to collect passenger name record information on all travelers entering or leaving the United States.”

Apparently oblivious to the fact that this was a domestic flight and was outside of CBP’s statutory purview, the spokesman said, “That’s all that I have at this time,” and ended the conversation.

Once the story hit the press, another CBP spokesman told Rolling Stone that the identification check was nothing more than “consensual assistance from passengers aboard the flight” and that “CBP did not compel” anybody to show ID.

Whether that’s true or not, there’s a bigger issue here. Most Americans simply don’t know what their rights are, either on domestic flights or at the border.

First, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, you can be stopped at the border and questioned, whether you’re an American citizen or not. You can also be sent to secondary inspection. But if you are an American, you have the right to be represented by counsel prior to any questioning. A CBP officer recently stopped me when I was reentering the country at Dulles Airport in Virginia. I am still on federal probation after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program, and that probation popped up on the CBP officer’s computer. He asked if I was on probation. I said that I was. He then asked me what my crime was. I responded factually that I had violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. “I’m not familiar with that,” he said. “What were the circumstances of your case?” I said that I was represented by counsel and that I never, ever discuss my case with any federal employee. He had to let me in. He couldn’t prevent me from entering my own country, after all. He did let me in, but only after I had sat in the CBP office for two hours.

Second, the ACLU says, you can be searched at the border. The Fourth Amendment notwithstanding, CBP does not need probable cause or reasonable suspicion to search you. Again, though, you can request to speak to your attorney if you’re an American citizen.

Third, CBP can ask to search your laptop, phone, or other electronic device. Last month, Sidd Bikkannavar, a US citizen and NASA engineer, was stopped at Houston Airport on his way back from a vacation in Chile. He was asked for his phone and his PIN number to access it. This was a government-issued phone, by the way. He complied. And, according to the ACLU, he had to. The federal courts have ruled that phone passcodes are protected by the 5th Amendment, but fingerprints are not.

The issue of whether CBP can go further and search your social media or the data on your phone is less settled legally. A federal appellate court ruled in 2013 that if border agents want to conduct a “forensic search” they have to suspect you of criminal wrongdoing. But that hasn’t stopped CBP agents from asking for access.

Finally, what happens if you refuse to turn over your information? If you’re an American citizen, CBP agents can certainly inconvenience you. They can make you sit in a little room, potentially for hours, while they figure out what to do next. But like I said, they can’t stop you from entering your own country.

Worse, though, CBP has the right to keep your phone, laptop, or other devices for as long as it needs, even months, “pending an investigation.” In that case, you’ll likely need an attorney. But a better idea is to either not take devices with you overseas or, if that’s not possible, back everything up, wipe your devices of all data, and take those. Fighting Big Brother is hard work, and it’s going to be a million little battles.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act - a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

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+17 # HowardMH 2017-02-27 14:44
So they going to slap somebodies pinky and retrain the idiots?
+21 # skylinefirepest 2017-02-27 14:48
Though I didn't get stopped, when we were taking a Homeland Security class in New Mexico there was a checkpoint on the interstate. There were cameras everywhere and this is probably at least fifty miles from the border.
+59 # REDPILLED 2017-02-27 14:49
Get used to this.

Since 9/11, the fascist Police Surveillance State has been increasing.
+11 # John S. Browne 2017-02-27 23:31

No, don't get used to it, and don't accept it, for it is ALL completely contrary to the principles of the Constitution, the Bill or Rights, freedom and liberty, freedom of speech (the right to remain silent, and to object to these travesties and miscarriages of justice without being brutalized), privacy (the right to have our persons and possessions free from unwarranted searches and seizures without just and/or probable cause), due process of law (the right to presumption of innocence, not guilt, and to remain silent and not be coerced and/or compelled to incriminate ourselves---whi ch the subject matter of this article is an example of), and to equal protection of the law [the right to have all of our rights completely respected and upheld without any violation(s) thereof whatsoever], and all of same rights under international laws including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and others, etc.

+17 # elkingo 2017-02-27 15:17
How can we stop this shit?
+6 # wrknight 2017-02-28 09:55
If you truly want to stop this shit, then it's time to clean the House --
and the Senate,
and the Oval Office.

The people who make these stupid rules are the incumbent politicians that American voters voted for (those who bothered vote).

The biggest problem is that most voters don't vote in primary elections. That's where you have the best chance to eliminate incumbent politicians. (Gerrymandering doesn't work in primary elections.)

So if you really want to stop this shit, be sure to vet all your political candidates next year, eliminate the incumbent politicians who support this oppression during the primary elections and vote for the best of the two candidates in the general election in November '18.

PS Bear in mind, it was American voters that elected Trump, mostly because they failed to nominate Sanders in the primaries. And they failed to nominate Sanders because most voters didn't vote in the primaries. Had everyone turned out to vote in the primaries, the DNC would not have been able to stop Sanders from winning.
0 # John S. Browne 2017-02-28 17:25

Not if the electronic voting machines stole it, which they undoubtedly did anyway, and would have done even more so if more people had come out to vote.

+6 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2017-02-28 13:39
Quoting elkingo:
How can we stop this shit?
The answer is surprisingly simple.

Register Republican.

1) As soon as the voting rolls open after a General Election (or today), register Republican. Then, for the next two years, at every state and local election, vet the candidates and vote for the most progressive Republican candidate.
2) When the federal primaries come up, which they do every 2 years, again, vet the candidates and especially the incumbent Republicans. Vote IN THE PRIMARY for the most progressive candidate. As soon as the voting rolls open after the Primary, you can change to your true party, if you want.

3) After the General Election in November, re-register Republican again.

This will work far better than you think.
1) The Republican money (think Kochs) have spent billions of dollars persuading Republicans to ALWAYS support the GOP. It will take decades for them to change that. And what can they change it to? Ask dyed in the wool Republicans to vote Democratic? Not likely.
2) The influx of progressive voters into the GOP voting base will start changing who represents the GOP.
3) If you understand triage, you know that the principle is to put your efforts where they'll do the most good. Our efforts to change the Democratic Party have been mostly wasted, not because the Dems don't need changing, but because putting the same resources to work to change the GOP will produce MUCH greater changes in our government.
+20 # nogardflow 2017-02-27 15:27
Why is it that the 'police state', always has so many volunteers?
+16 # grandlakeguy 2017-02-27 15:38
The operative phrase here is:
"…arriving.. from places outside thereof (outside of the USA)"
that statement gives me hope that they were just practicing for the upcoming possibility/lik elihood when we California voters approve the secession from the rest of the country.

-5 # ericlipps 2017-02-27 20:50
About the year 2500.
+6 # suziemama 2017-02-27 23:49
Take us with you (Washington and Oregon).
+2 # CL38 2017-02-28 00:07
We MA voters will join you!
+17 # tomwalker8 2017-02-27 15:58
When an illegal request is presented, how does somebody on the ground defend his/her rights? This is outrageous! If the "authorities" have no authority under the circumstances, they should be required to disclose as much.
+5 # JJS 2017-03-01 05:31
It would be helpful to have a Miranda-like rule to require CBP and other law enforcement agencies to inform all citizens they interact with the rules and laws that will apply to that encounter. The problem is most LE agents are as ignorant of the law as many citizens. In the meantime, read up on your rights (see ACLU website and other sources), ask for your rights (or an opportunity to understand your rights) to be upheld at the time of questioning. You may be inconvenienced but you will be within your rights. Request a lawyer.
+15 # giraffee23 2017-02-27 16:24
This shows we are "one step" closer to be like the Nazi regime. Where are the democrats who are supposed to STAND FOR LAW and ORDER? Is our government (GOP + DEM) going to let this freak show continue?
Demand Tax papers. Demand Trump to "blind trust" his assets. He can have both of them OR be President. BUT NOT BOTH.

And when he allows actions (such as this one) to occur (he actually directs these types of actions) then ARREST the enforcers and those who "direct" them to do "HARM."

Enough is enough.

We have the constitution and LAWS that prohibit the USA to be ruled by a fascist or dictator. WELL?
+1 # John S. Browne 2017-02-27 23:20

The "DemoCONS" have been allowing this freak show to happen for at least the past fifteen year; so, of course they are going to continue to allow it to happen. The very few dissenting voices are subterfuge, window dressing and controlled opposition; or, at least they are never allowed to get anywhere in any major fashion that threatens the obscenely profitable bottom line of turning the U.S. into a totalitarian corporate-fasci st police state, and keeping the "military-indus trial-congressi onal-judicial-p residential complex" going, raking in those profits and the increasing numbers of victims of its genocidal mass-murder program, while also brainwashing most of us to support our own demise as people and as a nation.

Face it, most of us are so willfully-blind to what's really going on, that we can't even see it while it's slapping us right in the face, over and over and over and over again. I mean, how much does tyranny have to abuse all of us, which it is whether we consciously know it or not, and turn our country into an increasingly unrecognizable shell of its former, if ever truly, free glory, before we rise up en masse and absolutely refuse to take it anymore, no matter how many true heroes die in the process? In addition, how long are most of us going to bow down to their controllers, their "centurion" mass-murderers, mass-criminals and mass-abusers-of -rights before the majority of us finally wake up to the fact that they do not work for "We the People"?

+4 # wrknight 2017-02-28 17:56
Hey, when you have the guns, the tanks and all the firepower, who cares about a little piece of paper?
+3 # JJS 2017-03-01 05:37
It takes money and legal resources to access the courts and have them enforce the constitution and laws. You can't redress grievances without funds. Not that this is the way it should be, it is the way it is.
+16 # Hardtack 2017-02-27 16:42
A few years ago my wife was commuting via bus between Buffalo and Syracuse to take care of her mother. On 2 separate occasions CPB officers boarded her bus while it was stopped at the downtown Rochester station and demanded all passengers produce ID. Rochester is not a border city unless you are a very strong swimmer.
+2 # ktony 2017-02-27 20:27
There is a zone within the borders where La Migra can have checkpoints. Look up Falfurias, TX on some map site, and see how far it is from the nearest point of the US-Mexico border.

There is an ICE inspection site there on the highway coming from the south. There are dogs, and lots of armed dudes. Once, inspection included opening my car door and having the German Shepherd lunge in under my legs.

The best course of action is to be smiling and d call them Sir or M'am. I say this as a white-haired Gringo. Border guards are pretty much a law unto themselves.
-1 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2017-02-28 14:58
Quoting ktony:
There are dogs, and lots of armed dudes. Once, inspection included opening my car door and having the German Shepherd lunge in under my legs.
I'd routinely have a piece of puffer fish toxin laden raw meat on the floor. Kills the dog without pain but not for several hours, long after YOU are not there any more.
0 # John S. Browne 2017-02-28 17:42

Yeah (sarcasm), bow down to your enslavers and be complicit in their, and their stringpullers', turning of the U.S. into more and more of a fascist police state! You see, that's a MAJOR part of the problem, most "Amerikans" saying what you just said, acting like you act when you deal with these fascist cretins, and bowing down to all of this madness, thus increasingly enabling it to take over more and more, and lock us down in a country that will no longer be truly free anymore at all. If the majority of us woke up and stood up against all of this fascist insanity, the totalitarians wouldn't be able to continue it, let alone expand it. But, because most of us accept it and/or go along with it as spineless, un-American cowards, it is taking over by leaps and bounds. And, very soon, if this trend keeps up, we will be completely locked down, where only the most bowed-down and compliant "privileged" ones will have any semblance of "true freedom" whatsoever. NON-VIOLENTLY RESIST THE TYRANNY! ALL OF IT!

+15 # John S. Browne 2017-02-27 17:25

Of course! Here we are in the midst of Orwell's 1984 having become reality in "the land of the (so-called) 'free' and the home of the (so-called) 'brave'", now really "the land of the (slaves) and the home of the (cowards)", and to have been made an increasingly repressive reality while most of us idiotically go along with it. What insanity!

Well, I know what would have happened to me, because I would have exercised my RIGHT to refuse, and I would have, at minimum, been disappeared into the "color(aka-appe arance)-of-law- authorities'" backrooms, likely at least threatened, terrorized and mentally-tortur ed, if not physically terrorized and tortured, tasered at least once if not multiple times even though I wasn't physically resisting, arrested, and subjected to a never ending railroading... IF I lived through it. That's the level of madness that this country has come to!

Wake up, people! Don't you see anything wrong with this? Have you been dumbed-down about your rights so much that you don't even recognize, at least in your gut, that this is all completely wrong? Are most of you going to continue to allow the deterioration and evisceration of our human rights that we are born with, and that cannot be taken away or withheld from us because they are unalienable? Are you Truly-Free people, or are you spineless fools who allow yourselves to be treated like cattle, "sheople" and slaves? We ALL have the DUTY to stand up against ALL of this madness. So, do it!

+4 # CL38 2017-02-28 00:11
Americans have been conditioned by fear for decades. Where are we? When are we going to draw a line in the sand? When they've accumulated so much power and erased so many rights that we've got nothing to stand on?

The time to act is now.

Impeach this tyrant.
+5 # wrknight 2017-02-28 10:08
Unfortunately, you and I can't impeach him. But next year we can get rid of those in Congress who support him and allow him to do as he pleases. So, come next spring, vote in the primary elections for opponents of the fascist incumbent politicians.

Raise the alarm and, like Paul Revere, shout out, "the fascists are coming".
0 # John S. Browne 2017-02-28 17:48

Uh huh, and as the electronic voting machines undo your "little bit of wisdom", which they will, how will that work out for you, and for all of us? We are all responsible for who our votes are flipped to, if we take part in the voting charade that the (s)elections and voting now are. Don't be complicit in it AT ALL.

+6 # dotlady 2017-02-27 17:28
For Americans accustomed to being protected from this sort of police intrusion thing, it's sorrowful and enraging situation. Then if you resist you are deeper onto the security black list I suppose. We are all going to have to get used to being treated like criminals at our own borders.
+24 # MidwestDick 2017-02-27 18:05
Striking that this flight was headed from and to the places in the US that most disfavor the current occupant of the White House.
+1 # ericlipps 2017-02-27 20:52
Just a coincidence, I'm sure. Wink, wink.
+3 # treerapper 2017-02-28 04:41
Interesting observation.
0 # Dudu101 2017-02-27 20:06
I live in Spokane, WA. CBP here spot checks Greyhound buses for non-citizens. About 3 years ago, I was sitting next to Nigerian (or whatever),waiti ng for bus to depart for Seattle. Her English was not the best. CBP officer was asking everyone if we were US citizens. Of course, he asked her for ID, which she had none. He did not pull her off, but warned her to carry visa next time. Probably did not want to deal with the paper work. Spokane is about 80 miles south of Canadian border.
+3 # angelfish 2017-02-27 22:00
As more and More and MORE of our Civil Rights are ERODED, WHO will stand up to these Cretinous Bullies who Goose-Step in Line with WHATEVER they are told to do by the Trumplandians, REGARDLESS of the Legality of it? We are STILL a FREE country UNLESS we ALL bend over and let them Continue to RAM their Bull-Puckey up our Butts! IMPEACH these TYRANTS and bring us Forward into the 21st Century!
+2 # wrknight 2017-02-28 10:11
Only you can stand up to them. And you get at least two opportunities every other year.
+3 # backwards_cinderella 2017-02-28 04:10
It's been like this FOREVER in NY. They call the checkpoints "DWI CHECKPOINTS". But they check for everything.
+3 # E.V.Debs 2017-02-28 09:24
Kiriakou mentions that Sidd Bikkannavar was stopped "last month," but neglected to include the date. It was on January 30th, nine days after Drumpf took office.

Kiriakou also neglected to mention that he was a Muslim, which the yo-yos seem to think constitutes "probable cause."

However, the guy has been with NASA at JPL for a decade, he's a prizewinning scientist, and he was born in the U.S. He's also enrolled in Global Entry, which should get you waived through at the airport, since it's a preverification process that is supposed to reduce the bullshit you might otherwise encounter when boarding planes or reentering.

CBE employees were the only group of federal workers who supported Drumpf, though I'm not sure if their union did. They should be screening out racists in the hiring process, but there's no evidence this is happening.

Back in the Dubya days, 2002, I think my congressman, Todd Tiahrt, put me on the watch list, after I called him a liar (twice) at a town hall debate. He took my name and address and said his staff would get back to me. They didn't, unless being the subject of an extended delay, phone calls between the very shaken airline counterperson, and her assurances that I could board "this time," but I had to carry my bags through the x-ray and gate check them. I did a FOIA to find out how I got on the list and the TSA said they could not confirm the existence of the list. After two years, I was off it.
+2 # John S. Browne 2017-03-01 16:48

You were, and/or "are", off the lists as far as you know. Remember, there is more than one list, and some of them lead the TSA to wave you through, but that doesn't mean that you aren't still on at least one watchlist. And, considering that you "dared" to stand up to an authoritarian cretin (with "perceived threatening conduct" against a federal employee under, and in "violation" of, the "USA 'PATRIOT' Act", according to government), you very likely still are, and you are undoubtedly still being given extra monitoring, if "only" by computer, even if it isn't disclosed to you. And you very likely will remain so, if not worse depending upon what you do from hereon out, for the rest of your life.

+2 # E.V.Debs 2017-02-28 11:03
Snopes couldn't confirm the scientist's story, in part because some officials refused to talk to them.

Here's a solid article on the situation:

The CBE is claiming they got a tip that someone with problems was supposed to be on the plane, so they asked for I.D. for everyone. That doesn't explain why they stopped women, in addition to men, and why they took Siid(artha?)'s fingerprint.
+2 # Helen Marshall 2017-02-28 17:20
But you have to show ID to get on a plane!!!
+1 # John S. Browne 2017-03-01 17:07

No doubt this whole thing was overkill to say the least. But, not to justify any of it at all, maybe they thought, or would claim, that someone snuck on the plane; or they were checking ALL the planes even though the person they were looking for wasn't on the flight manifests (because, you know, "better safe than sorry"). They have a rationalization for everything, even if it is in violation of our rights, which it increasingly is; but, you know, the endless war OF terrorism supposedly "justifies" it all. And most "Congress-critt ers" go along with the draconian changing of the laws; because, if they go against and the new draconian law isn't passed, and there's another "terrorist" attack, it will be blamed on them and all of the supposedly "weak-kneed" 'liberals'... NOT!

It is clear that if those new totalitarian laws hadn't been passed and signed into "law", the deep state shadow government would likely have carried out least one more "9-11" by now, and/or more smaller "false-flag" attacks than they already have, to get everyone on the same page and to completely bow down to all of this dystopian, totalitarian nonsense. We've got to keep in mind that it's not truly about protecting and keeping us, as well as the country, safe; but, by design and intentionally, about overturning the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, doing away with all of our most important outward rights, and locking us all down in the opposite of liberty and freedom, slavery...

-1 # John S. Browne 2017-03-02 14:25

...(S)o the deep state shadow government PTB can do whatever they want, without any checks and balances, especially by The People themselves; because, you know, from their point of view we are all nothing but their slaves now, with supposedly little (or no more) say in what they do, both to us and to the entire world... NOT!

0 # babalu 2017-03-02 05:07
I guess some CBP personnel take "unleashed" mean they are no longer subject to law.
I favor civil disobedience like the next woman, but sometimes we have lives to live and need to get off the plane.
+1 # draypoker 2017-03-02 13:35
Do they check trains and Greyhounds? That's how I usually travel. In 1963 I was checked on a Greyhound in Arizona, near the border. I showed my British passport.
0 # John S. Browne 2017-03-03 19:52

Yes, they do, increasingly. I am a born-and-raised American, and I rode the AMTRAK train just one stop in 2002 and was watched like a hawk by "Homeland (In)Security". It was obvious that they presumed many if not most people "guilty". I hadn't had any serious run-ins with the federal government prior to that, although it wouldn't surprise me if a misdemeanor railroading by a county/state court locality in Colorado a few months before had gotten me on a watchlist, because the judge in the case warned me that I could be monitored over the internet. This is what the U.S. has come to. Thus, I recommend to people from other countries not to visit the U.S., because it is literally dangerous, and getting more and more so, to do so. Boycott the U.S. in protest until it stops, if it ever does, increasingly being a fascist police state.

0 # draypoker 2017-03-07 17:56
I understand that a large number of people cross the border from Mexico. It is not surprising, therefore, that the border police look for them.

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