Administration defends warrantless laptop searches

Okay, let me make sure I’ve got this right. The left’s position is it is a terrible violation of our civil liberties to eavesdrop on foreign terrorists when they place calls to America. We should stop listening whenever they contact people here. Not only that, but it’s also a violation of our civil liberties to eavesdrop on foreign terrorists when they place internet calls to anywhere, if those connections happen to routed through the United States.

However, the Obama administration argues that the government should be allowed to confiscate laptop computers from US citizens returning to the United States, hold them indefinitely and search them without a warrant:

A federal judge has ruled that border agents cannot seize a traveler’s laptop, keep it locked up for months, and examine it for contraband files without a warrant half a year later.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in the Northern District of California rejected the Obama administration’s argument that no warrant was necessary to look through the electronic files of an American citizen who was returning home from a trip to South Korea. . .

The Justice Department invoked a novel argument–which White dubbed “unpersuasive”–claiming that while Hanson was able to enter the country, his laptop remained in a kind of legal limbo where the Bill of Rights did not apply.

To be fair, a group of Democrats have sponsored a bill to put an end to this practice. However, as I read it, the bill would still permit warrantless searches if they were conducted within 24 hours.

(Via Instapundit.)

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