Film critic extraordinaire Alan Vanneman sends along this amazing LA Times account of stoopid airport security in action. The writer, Ray LeMoine, details how DHS pulled him aside for special attention while returning to the US after spending time in Dubai, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan. Which makes sense, say LeMoine: "If ever there were a DHS red-flag candidate, I was it, and I assumed this was just protocol."
Yet what did they question him about? A 2003 bust for selling unlicensed T-shirts in Boston and a missed 2004 court date relating to a fight he had with a parking lot attendant (LeMoine was found not guilty in the latter case).
Four DHS officers working two cases–a Senegalese guy who was caught with $100,000 in a suitcase and mine–couldn't even get the NYPD on the phone. A debate then broke out among Malik, his co-worker and their boss about how to call the NYPD. Six hours later, the DHS still hadn't gotten word from the NYPD. A shift change was coming up, and officers aren't allowed to leave until finishing all their cases.
So they set him free, leading him to conclude:
Homeland Security, the $40-billion-a-year agency set up to combat terrorism after 9/11, has been given universal jurisdiction and can hold anyone on Earth for crimes unrelated to national security–even me for a court date I missed while I was in Iraq helping America deter terror–without asking what I had been doing in Pakistan among Islamic extremists the agency is designated to stop. Instead, some of its actions are erasing the lines of jurisdiction between local police and the federal state, scarily bringing the words "police" and "state" closer together. As long as we allow Homeland Security to act like a Keystone Stasi, terrorism will continue to win in destroying our freedom.
Whole thing here.