After seeing this article the other day, Bush’s Search Policy For Travelers Is Kept; Obama Officials Say Oversight Will Grow, I felt compelled to share some helpful suggestions when you are traveling into the USA: carry some change to make phone calls, bring some paper and a pen to be able to write a letters/documents, kick it old school and carry a Walkman. When you see read this article, you will see why.

Here we are with yet another Bush-era policy Barack “Vote For Me Because I Am Not Bush” Obama:

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.”

Why, yes – it is “disappointing.” WTH with these groups who always use that word when Obama retains yet another egregious Bush program. “Disappointing.” Uh, yeah. That’s one (incredibly lame) word for it:

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.

Did I read that right? 5 days and 30 days?? That’s supposed to be an IMPROVEMENT? Holy freakin’ smokes!!

Some people are happy with it, though:

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.

And these are our representatives. That’s just jake.

Others, those who actually care about the Constitution, for example, aren’t quite so upbeat about it:

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.

Once again, I am SO “disappointed” to have my civil liberties curtailed. Sheesh. Seriously, people, there are stronger terms for having our Constitution dismantled by The One over whom you ooh-ed! and ah-ed! as such a great Constitutional Scholar, and the Anti-Bush. All I can say is, perhaps you wouldn’t have experienced this “disappointment” had you bothered to actually listen to what he man said (remember the return to Bush I’s foreign policy? How about voting for the Bush/Cheney Energy Bill?) or what he did (remember that FISA vote? Yeah, you were “disappointed” then, too.). So many examples, so little time. The point is, had your eyes been open instead of closed as you swayed in rapture to the tones of The One and TOTUS, perhaps you wouldn’t be oh-so-surprised by this.

The rest of us aren’t.

  • my kids gonna be to sick to go to school..

    • Keep the kids HOME!

      What a great way to continue proving that we don’t want socialism – no matter how it’s guised and by who.

      Note to Obama: Hands off the children. Otherwise, the press and citizens of the US get to invade your family bubble. Turn about is fair play, Mr. Corruption.

    • Keep the kids HOME!

      What a great way to continue proving that we don’t want socialism – no matter how it’s guised and by whom.

      Note to Obama: Hands off the children. Otherwise, the press and citizens of the US get to invade your family bubble. Turn about is fair play, Mr. Corruption.

  • tzada

    President Obama’s Address to Students Across America September 8, 2009’s-Address-to-Students-Across-America-September-8-2009

    Maybe we should give dearest leader a message and all keep our children home from school on Sept 8th.
    There is just something creepy about him and this.

  • oowawa

    Isn’t flying getting to be a whole lot of fun! They’ve got those new gizmos that can see right through your clothes and reveal you in all your nekkid splendor; you have to run a gauntlet of Police Academy rejects with an attitude in order to get on the plane; and now you are subject to even more intrusive electronic searches that might even turn up something really horrible, like a bunch of pirated mp3’s.

    Anybody thinking of buying stock in the airlines?

    I think I’ll stay home. Fine article, Rev. Amy.

    • Thank ya, oowawa!

      And fine comment! 😀

      • tango

        And don’t forget when you do get on the airplane, you run a good chance of being one of the lucky ones who then get delayed. So you get to sit in the plane hour after hour, going nowhere, listening to crying babies, breathing recycled stale air and smelling overflowed toilets. To top it off, you then get to see the flight crew deplane and be replaced with fresh crewmembers since the old ones have exceeded the legal number of hours they can be on the job.

        Oh fun, oh joy.

        • Ferd Berfle


          And when you do finally get in the air, they sell you stale crap they euphemistically call food that isn’t fit for Fido and sell you beer or wine that needs to be run through the horse again; then the pilots go out of their way to find the most turbulent air in the immediate vicinity of the jet so that you can be the first person ever to actually complete, without splashing, the calling for Charles into the airline discomfort bag; and to add insult to injury, the guy sitting next to you had twelve bean burritos with eggs for breakfast. Ain’t flying grand?

  • Cindy

    Rev. Amy–Thanks for this post…and by the way, is there a list somewhere of the Bush-era policies that Obama has decided to keep? I know the number is growing, but wondered if anyone on NoQ has organized an actual list.
    Thanks again.
    Oh, and don’t you love that Obama as Senator and Chair of the Subcommittee on Afghanistan and NEVER held a meeting about Afghan., is now having his Piss Secretary Gibbs point the finger at Bush and say that Afghan. is a mess because of the years of neglect under Bush Admin.!!!!

    • Steve_in_KC

      If Obama wants to blame someone for the mess Afghanistan is in, he might want to set the Wayback Machine for the 1980s, when Reagan, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were helping to create and arm Al Qaeda so they could fight off the Russkies. The Soviets tried to crack the Afghan nut for over ten years with no success. Why did Bush ever think he could do better?

      Sometimes I think the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq were efforts by Cheney et al to put the genie back in the bottle. They helped to create both those enemies, just as they did Noriega in Panama. They build them up, then they take them down. WTF did they think was going to happen when they created these monsters??

      • Cindy

        Steve—of course, you’re right. Remember how we just LOVED us some Taliban back then?
        But, I still want Obama to be seriously challenged on why HE did nothing for two years as Senator. Ya know, two years is two years and the Dems could have done something, starting with impeaching Bush, if he in fact was the devil, right?
        This is why I don’t hate Bush….how bad could he be if the Dems did NOTHING to punish him.

      • tzada

        Am pretty sure it was Carter and Brzezinski who created the Taliban. Anyhow they brag about it.
        They brag about it being Russia’s Vietnam and the quagmire it made for them. They brought about the transition of Iran from an important US client state to an anti-Western Islamic Republic. They armed the mujahideen in Afghanistan, who later became the Taliban.

        I am sure you know he now advises the current WH.
        And Carters got himself as O friend.

        • tek

          tzada: no, it was Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a long way from being the America-loving, patriotic saint he’s made out to be.

          Funny how some Republicans remember things. For instance, anytime one of Dubya’s more egregious policies is mentioned, the Republicans in my family start insisting Bush II had a Democratic majority in Congress during both his administrations and whatever bad things happened in the country were the fault of the Democrats in Congress.

          This is one of the things that drives me nuts in our country. If people can’t ever look at politicians objectively–whatever party they hail from–how can we ever confront bad policy? If you’re so partisan you can’t look at your own party and see the downside, then you will go through life soaking up whatever propaganda exalts your chosen people.

          • Ferd Berfle

            tzada: no, it was Reagan.

            You are correct, tek. All Carter did was withdraw from the 1980 Summer Olympics and yell in a pickle barrel. Reagan made Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in one fell swoop. This isn’t the first time I’ve said it but the law of unintended consequences bites us in the kiester every time we try to get cute and really seems to haunt the bellicose part of the Republican party.

    • Cindy – I know that I have done a few posts with a number of Obama’s adoptions of Bush policies, and I think some others have as well. But I like the idea of a running list…Good point!

      And, YES – he said he was “too busy campaigning” to bother holding a meeting on this issue. I still cannot believe people elected this guy (even with the ACORN and other shenanigans) with his cavalier approach to, well, ANYTHING, of importance, or his incredible lack of experience. Can you just imagine the hue and cry if Hillary or ANYONE else had done that? We’d still be hearing abt it!

      • Cindy

        Thanks, Rev Amy…I’ve been meaning to keep a “list” but kept forgetting!
        And yes, Hillary would be dust if she had done that. I keep hearing her words from last year when she said “Ready on Day ONE”!! Boy, did she have that right…she was ready, and he still isn’t…!!!!

      • jbjd

        R3A, I never thought people WOULD vote for him. Never. Even people who wish they could have found a reason TO vote for him. I always thought, at the last minute, they will listen to the better angels of their nature…no records, no experience, no substance…

        • I know, jbjd – I can hardly believe it still.

          Cindy, yes – Hillary had it right (as usual). What in the world made the same people who widely decried Bush’s lack of experience – and he had more than Obama – throw their weight to someone whose resume was so thin? It is mind boggling to me. Especially because we DID/DO need someone ready on Day One with our economy, two wars, etc., etc. Just shaking my head in disbelief…

      • jwrjr

        And he is still too busy campaigning to remember what happened when the Russians invaded Afghanistan. (Make no mistake – to the average villager there, now we are the invaders.)

        • tek

          He probably still thinks there’s 57 states in the union.

      • tzada

        Factor in the electronic voting machines from Venezuela. Remember the tuna fish queen said she was 100% sure that O would win?

  • donjo

    Someone has GOT to get that spam filter fixed.

    • I know, donjo – it is really frustrating. Sorry abt that! But if you saw all of the CRAP it does keep out, you would be mighty thankful, believe you me (unless you aren’t getting enough Cialis emails of your own).

      You know, I have always been impressed with Jonathan Turley. I see why Olberman stopped having him on his show. I guess it was okay when Turley was talking abt the Bush Administration, but for him to bring the same, measured view to Obama is just too much…

      Anyway – thank you!

      • Linda Anselmi

        Right on RRRAmy –

        You know, I have always been impressed with Jonathan Turley. I see why Olberman stopped having him on his show. I guess it was okay when Turley was talking abt the Bush Administration, but for him to bring the same, measured view to Obama is just too much…

        That same exact thought was going through my head when I read donjo’s comment. Oh, that righteous anger that Olbermann reveled in during the Bush years has somehow, magically, with the election of Obama, turned into faint-hearted babbling (that some how always manages to twist fault to the republicans). No matter that Obama is doing his best to top Bush in annihilating our civil rights and liberties.

        Great post!!!

        • Linda Anselmi

          Meant to add – measured is a great descriptor of Turley. His thoughtful, measured style gives his comments so much more weight. But hey, not being offensive, rabid, or partisan could lead to a sane, intelligent discussion something Olbermann tries to avoid at all costs. Don’t think Olbermann has John Dean on anymore either.

          • You are so right abt Olbermann, Linda! Great comment!

            And isn’t it nice to hear a Constitutional scholar actually stand up for the Constitution??

  • donjo

    “Because what he’s frittering away…are the rights we all have as citizens.” Jon. Turley on Barack Obama

  • donjo

    “Because what he’s frittering away …are the rights we all have as citizens.” J. Turley on Barack Obama

    • tek

      seriously, I wont’ even look at Turley anymore. We bought his book on the Election 2000 debacle in which he blasted the Supremes. Then he turned into a total ‘bot, even dissing Hillary. I have no sympathy for those folks now.

      We were at a professional dinner this weekend. One of the speakers (at what was supposed to be a humorous speech) had to start talking about how much he loves Obama. He said he believes Obama is turning into “a wonderful president.” I would love to know what people base that assessment on. I can’t see that O’s done anything positive, much less wonderful. (But, of course, I’m biased) (not racist–biased)

      • Well, tek – if you don’t worship at O’s feet, of COURSE you’re racist 0 didn’t you get the memo?? 🙂

        I cannot imagine what people think he has done that is positive – unless you are in the UAW or SEICU, or in banking, or in coal, not a lot!!