DHS Interrogates NY Times Reporters At Border, Then Denies Having Any Records About Them

from the right,-sure dept

Thought it was just officials at UK airports detaining and interrogating journalists? According to a new lawsuit from two NY Times reporters, they were also pulled aside and interrogated by Homeland Security officials multiple times concerning their own reporting efforts. The two reporters, Mac William Bishop and Christopher Chivers were apparently pulled out for special interrogation at JFK.
Among other things, Plaintiffs seek records used or created by DHS employees in respect to the questioning of Plaintiffs at JFK Airport earlier this year. Plaintiffs were subject to segregated questioning by DHS employees at JFK on May 24, 2013, as they prepared to board an international flight for a work assignment as journalists. Subsequently, on June 6, 2013, Mr. Bishop was subjected to further segregated questioning by DHS employees at JFK as he returned to the United States.
Given this, the two journalists filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests on records pertaining to themselves... and got back absolutely nothing. After playing hot potato with the FOIA requests between different DHS agencies, the reporters basically got back messages saying that there were no records on either.
On September 27, 2013, ICE denied the Bishop Request. ICE reported in a "final response" that the unite had conducted a search and found no responsive documents.

On October 28, 2013, Mr. Bishop appealed ICE's denial. In his appeal letter, Mr. Bishop said it was "inconceivable that DHS has no records pertaining to [him]" as someone who is "a frequent international traveler." He pointed out that on June 6, 2013 he had answered questions for DHS employees in a private room at JFK, and those answers were recorded on a computer.

On November 18, 2013, ICE denied Mr. Bishop's administrative appeal, finding that the agency had done an adequate search.

As for the TSA, that unit of DHS informed Mr. Bishop by letter on July 31, 2013 that his "request was too broad in scope." TSA required more information before processing the request.

On August 9, 2013, Mr. Bishop, through counsel, responded by letter. He restated the initial request and asserted that no legal authority supports the proposition that TSA could simply refuse to do the search.

More than two months later, on October 23, 2013, TSA told Mr. Bishop's counsel that it could not find the August 9, 2013 letter. Counsel subsequently provided a new copy of the letter and additional information about the June 6, 2013 questioning at JFK. There has been no further response from TSA.
Remember how Eric Holder insisted that the feds weren't going to keep intimidating journalists? Yeah, right.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 6:04am

    No see, you just have to look at it differently

    Remember how Eric Holder insisted that the feds weren't going to keep intimidating journalists? Yeah, right.

    They're just going by the government's latest 'logic', where not knowing about something means it didn't happen, so it follows that not having any records of an event means it also 'didn't happen'. /s

    Sarcasm aside, I'm guessing that while the detaining and harassing weren't 'official', and thereby recorded, it's likely the DHS and TSA have been given 'suggestions' from up top to make any travel by big reporters from the papers that are covering government abuses as unpleasant as possible, just to show them what happens to those that don't toe the line.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 6:45am

    And NSA apologists wonder why...

    Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden refuse to come back to this country.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    Remember how Eric Holder insisted that the feds weren't going to keep intimidating journalists? Yeah, right.

    Do we trust in a Government that allows blatant liars to remain in their jobs? (ie: Clapper, Alexander etc). No surprises here.

    Yet more steps into fascism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 7:57am

    " the reporters basically got back messages saying that there were no records on either."

    Maybe they were looking in the wrong haystack of haystacks .. or maybe the US doesn't respond (via FOIA) to terrorist (Journalists) demands..

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 7:57am

    The bigger question is, why are these reporters giving in to these thugs' demands? Don't allow them to trample your rights. Resist their unconstitutional orders and push back.

    Let's make something clear: these reporters allowed themselves to be interrogated. And people wonder why this abuse continues...

     

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  6.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 8:12am

    Re:

    Riiight... So DHS officers come, take you to the tiny room and start interrogating you but you can always just punch them and walk away refusing to be interrogated. Riiight. Unless you are referring to their right to remain silent, which doesn't prevent the interrogation at all.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 8:20am

    Re:

    As long as there are no consequences, blatant liars will become more numerous as well as more blatant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Baron von Robber, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 8:23am

    Ministry of Truth error

    They both were already classified as 'unpersons'. The clerk, W. Smith, had processed these two already, but too soon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    Re:

    i think "blatant lier" is in the official job description and appointment requirements by now so lets stop pretending it isn't.
    (one alternative of it that i can think of is "media relations specialist" = bullshit master)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    There is this no fly list, which is a useful threat or punishment, especially once they are away from their home base.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re:

    You don't have to answer their questions. They can't MAKE you talk. And anything they could do to make you want to talk could be used against them in the court of public opinion. They are reporters after all for the NY Times. They are not powerless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re:

    How did you extrapolate "punch them" from what I said?

    What would you do in their situation, roll over and let the DHS have their way?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 8:57am

    Being unable to find a record is not at all a denial that the record exists. It is possible that a record exists, but that record is not discovered during an agency search.

    BTW, even if a record exists and is eventually located, it does not follow that the record must be disclosed as there are several exemptions from disclosure enumerated in the FOIA statute.

    Exemption from disclosure can be raised, to my knowledge, at virtually any time during this proceeding.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re:

    Anyone could wind up on that list at a whim without due process. In short, they'll continue to do whatever they can get away with doing, all because of people's complacency.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Didn't someone just today say :

    "There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "You don't have to answer their questions. They can't MAKE you talk."

    Yeah, right. I know some people that I bet could make you talk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Re:

    "Let's make something clear: these reporters allowed themselves to be interrogated."

    Yeah, they could have fought back. As journalists, I'm sure they were traveling through the airport well armed.

    /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    MikeC, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Until they hit you with a patriot act charge where you can't call a lawyer, you can tell anyone, etc... and then you end up in Gitmo ... you really don't have any recourse while you are in custody -- you have to do whatever they ask until you can get free, then you can try to do something about it.

    "they don't have to let you go you know, there is not even due process anymore if they don't want to allow it" ... just saying it's not all that easy to resist, lots of downsides.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    sorrykb (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    They ARE fighting back, hence the lawsuit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Ac, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Time for a new revolution, this will never stop until you bring the government and all little dictators down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    V, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    As for the TSA, that unit of DHS informed Mr. Bishop by letter on July 31, 2013 that his "request was too broad in scope." TSA required more information before processing the request

    So let me get this straight, the NSA can obtain millions of call records on people who not are suspects in any crime, local law enforcement can request "tower dumps" of cell towers getting all the data available from that tower, both without a warrant, yet asking for records from the government one specific person is "too broad in scope"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Jerrymiah, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 10:01am

    Remember how Eric Holder insisted that the feds weren't going to keep intimidating journalists? Yeah, right.

    I've long said that Eric Holder was a fuckin' Nazi. This just proves my point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Eric Holder is a hypocritical lying ass sack of shit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 10:13am

    Re: No see, you just have to look at it differently

    He who controls the past...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 10:14am

    All records

    He asked for "all records" they have pertaining to him. Something tells me that they are in possession of some records they have absolutely no business having, and that's why they are acting so strangely. Medical information? The output of a GPS tracker they planted on him? Metadata on his phone calls (or actual recordings of the calls)? His complete banking information?

    They're asking him to be more specific because he's unlikely to specifically ask for whatever it is they're worried about.

    Hey, I could be wrong. But when they act like this, we are left to assume the worst.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Better response....

    They are "reporters" right, get out their camera and recorder and state that this interrogation will be recorded for the public record....

    Now if they take away all tools capable of recording said "interview", I would start asking for a lawyer or formal charges or I walk....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 10:21am

    I see why

    I see why he was selected out.
    The poor DHS employees looked him up on the computer system and found.... nothing. How strange. Then upon a few questions Mr. Bishop claimed to be a frequent international traveler. A frequent international traveler should have some sort of files. Of course any logical person would have to follow up on this strange case. After all everyone on earth has a file with DHS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You didn't read carefully what I wrote. You may know people that can make someone WANT to talk via coercion of some type. However, no one can make anyone talk if they truly don't want to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Better response....

    No just quietly turn on the sound recorder on the phone in your pocket and don't say a damned thing. Wait for it all to be over. Then publish the recording.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    B.S. Masterson, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 10:46am

    truthsayer

    ...(waves hand)these are not the truths you're looking for...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Better response....

    That assumes that their electronics have not been taken away for examination, and copying of the contents..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    limbodog (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

    Easy to say, hard to do.

    You get pulled out of line by uniformed officials. Your bags are taken away from you. You are not told why you are being put in a small room with a locked door and being interrogated. You know full well that the government abuses its power and that your civil rights are no longer guaranteed. At the very least, you expect you could be in that room for 23 hours. And you didn't get a chance to tell *anyone* where you are or what just happened.

    And you think they're going to let you whip out a recording device and start recording? Or that you're going anywhere anytime soon if you don't answer questions?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Better response....

    At the point they are confiscating your electronics, an attorney will be involved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Better response....

    ? what hole have you been hiding in the last couple decades ? ? ?
    The They (tm) WILL take your shit without ANY explanation, receipt, or other legal justification, PERIOD...

    are you dense ? ? ?

    JUST LIKE the story here the other day, about donut-eaters essentially saying "Give up your right to unreasonable search/seizure, or we will kill your dogs and FUCK YOU UP ROYALLY!"...

    WHAT REAL "CHOICE" does a powerless citizen have ?
    what are they going to do, call the police ? ? ?
    bwa ha HA HA HAAAAAAA

    we are so screwed...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Better response....

    Actually, no. You have no rights at the border.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_search_exception

    No lawyers needed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

    Re: I see why

    Next time he crosses the border and they stop him for 'something in your record', he should hand them a copy of the letter stating he has no records....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 2:59pm

    THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED !

    Down with the Establishment ! Power To The People !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Better response....

    And, of course, "the border" is defined as within 100 miles of the actual border. Which means that 2/3rds of the population of the US is at the border and therefore have no such rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 4:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    By your logic, rape at gunpoint is actually consensual sex. After all, the victim chose to comply with the attacker's demands. She could always have just chosen to get shot instead.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    you have to do whatever they ask until you can get free


    If you do that, you wont' succeed in your later challenge because you agreed to do what they wanted, therefore it was voluntary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 4:14pm

    Terrorists are so bad, that to beat them we had to become worse than them.

    Why can this idea, that they have gone to fucking far, not penetrate the bubble in DC?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    BernardoVerda (profile), Dec 10th, 2013 @ 7:10pm

    Re:

    "Blatant liars" would be bad enough.
    But you are understating the case
    -- these are actually "blatant perjurers"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Ed Becerra, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Better response....

    There was a news program about this sort of thing this morning (Dec 11th), concerning a new phone app. Originally intended for battered women, it's a one-tap button that sends off an prerecorded emergency message to any of several previously chosen numbers, and starts recording audio with no sign that it's doing so. Great for trapping pushy government officials as well as abusive spouses. I expect this sort of app is going to become rather popular in some nations.

    Combine that with one of those low-rez cameras disguised as a pen, and you have a perfect honey trap for TSA and other DHS types.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 1:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "By your logic, rape at gunpoint is actually consensual sex. After all, the victim chose to comply with the attacker's demands. She could always have just chosen to get shot instead."

    Of course! You didn't know that?


    /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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