Friend Of Bradley Manning Sues Homeland Security For Seizing His Laptop
from the land-of-the-free dept
Connecting two separate stories we’ve been covering here, it appears that the ICE group of Homeland Security seized the computer equipment of David House — a friend and supporter of Bradley Manning — as he flew back into the country last fall. As you may recall, DHS/ICE have been pushing hard for the right to seize and search laptops at the border for any reason (or no reason at all). Courts have mostly said this is okay, with a few exceptions. In this case, DHS didn’t return the equipment for 49 days, and that was only after House had the ACLU send a “strongly-worded letter” demanding the return of the equipment. Again, while the courts have generally deemed such searches to be okay, the ACLU appears to think that this particular search is a perfect example of why these searches are massively overreaching — so it has teamed up with House to sue DHS and the US government.
It certainly could make for an interesting case and an interesting challenge to DHS’s claims that it can ignore the 4th Amendment at the border. The ACLU seems to be suggesting that since the seizures of his devices had nothing to do with customs, immigration or terrorism, but were politically motivated, then they violate both the 1st Amendment and the 4th Amendment. It definitely makes for an compelling argument, but I’d guess the courts will (yet again) defer to the US government on this one and say it was okay.