BACKGROUND: Customs regularly want to ask me nosy questions and look through my baggage. I can accept being physically searched, but the contents of my psyche are private and off limits. I am considering sending the below to CBP as a complaint, and possibly requesting a FOIA of related documents. I would appreciate any comments and suggestions. Thanks, Randy
I found the following websites that may help me with the FOIA request:
Privacy Act and FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) lawsuit for records of DHS surveillance of travelers. What is this case about?
âThis complaint concerns the failure to disclose records regarding the warrantless, suspicionless dragnet collection and maintenance of Federal government records of the travel, activities, and other personal information concerning U.S. citizens not accused of any crime.â
How to request your travel records
By popular demand, I'm posting updated forms to request your PNR's and other records of your international travel that are being kept by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
DRAFT COMPLAINT TO DHSTRIP (Department of Homeland Security Travel Rdress Inquiry Program):
I am a 41 year old Jewish American having university and post-graduate degrees, and a clean criminal record. On Sunday, June 26, 2011, I arrived to the DFW port of entry on British Airways flight 0193 from London (LHR) scheduled at 1525.
When I approached the initial immigration officer, he said he needed to verify something, got up from his station, took my passport, and escorted me to a small waiting room for secondary immigration, where the time was 1548 when I sat down. Officer AYALA sat at a PC with my passport for about 30 minutes. Officer SARKARIA was there too for part of the 30 minutes.
Next, AYALA and SARKARIA escorted me to get my suitcase. After I got it, AYALA asked me where I worked. I responded "Before I can consider your infromation request, I need to hear the Privacy Act notice under Homeland Security Regulations." I was referring to 6 CFR 5.34 - Standards of conduct for administration of the Privacy Act
[(c) Inform each individual from whom information is collected of:
(1) The legal authority to collect the information and whether providing it is mandatory or voluntary;
(2) The principal purpose for which the Department intends to use the information;
(3) The routine uses the Department may make of the information; and
(4) The effects on the individual, if any, of not providing the information; ].
AYALA told me I have no privacy. We then reached an inspection station in the secondary customs inspection area. They told me they would leave me standing and threatened to keep me until I answered their questions, and that they would come back every 10 minutes to see if I was willing to talk. Please note that I departed my hotel in Moscow, Russia for the airport about 1300 DFW time on Saturday, June 25, 2011.
After some time, a man arrived who introduced himself as AYALA's and SARKARIA's supervisor. I didn't get his name, but he was bald on top and the beltline of his pants was located higher than average. When he asked what was happening with me, I explained about the Privacy Act. He asked SARKARIA if I had mentioned the Privacy Act, and SARKARIA and AYALA told him no. I started to explain that I had mentioned the Privacy Act, then SARKARIA became extremely discourteous and yelled at me not to talk anymore. AYALA, SARKARIA, and their supervisor had ample opportunity to review my notice (see attached, begins with NOTICE at the top) about government officers, the Privacy Act, and questions about what would be done with my answers to any questions. At one point, SARKARIA asked me if I was a terrorist or a drug-dealer. I simply shook my head no and did not speak.
At 1630, I informed the agent at the next station that my next flight would leave in 40 minutes, and asked if a Passenger Service Representative (PSR) was available. He told me I would have to wait for the officers that were with me earlier. Soon AYALA and SARKARIA took me to an inspection station next to a room with one-way glass. They brought LOPEZ to help look through my possessions. LOPEZ was courteous and simply performed the inspection. I repeatedly asked many officers about speaking to a PSR.
At one point, a plain-clothes officer came over, flashed his CBP Special Agent badge, and said he had been called to find out what was happening. I explained what had happened, and that no one had explained the Privacy Act as it applied to their questions. He then smoothly tried to ask me where I work, and I explained to him that I had been without sleep for a long time, had no lawyer with me, his badge claimed he is a federal officer with special investigation powers, he had not given me the Privacy Act notice, that I had been cooperative with the agents physically inspecting me and my things, but that no one was going to inspect my mind, and that I would remain silent. He tried to reassure me about talking to him by telling me he wasn't taking notes, but I didn't budge. Everyone knows federal agents can make a report after the fact and submit it as evidence. After he left, I was sitting on the black conveyor belt for inspections next to my open suitcase, and an officer came out and asked me to get off because he was worried about me falling and hurting myself. Is this really a future liability for CBP?
AYALA saw that I had a book entitled "Russian in Exercises" and a student notebook filled with Russian writing. I informed him that I was doing grammar exercises. He also saw a small blue notebook which had contact details for some of my Russian friends. He told me he was going to bring a Russian translator. They also took for inspection my Russian cell phone, MP3 player, camera, and USB hard disks. My camera had pictures from Russia, and recoverable fragments of deleted photos of other trips (animals, people, and scenery) . One USB hard disk would have shown as unformatted, and the other had recoverable fragments of business documents from whoever had it before me as I received it as a gift.
Finally, at about 1840, AYALA returned the rest of my stuff and I left the customs area where I rebooked the connecting flight that I had missed.
I have seen nothing in the CBP laws and regulations that would prevent someone from passing through inspection completely mute or unconscious. Officers can physically inspect anything without one's assistance. I have not seen any "authority" to question people fully enabled on the other hand by corresponding laws and regulations compelling statements, admissions, or confessions, especially while one is sleep deprived and ordered by armed men not to back up 10 feet when trying to simply sit at the nearest inspection station.
It is sad that entering the USA required almost 3 hours subject to discourteous bullying. During all my travels to Asia, Russia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, customs and immigrations officials have always treated me with courtesy, dignity, and respect.
CONSIDER TAKING UP THESE POINTS SEPARATELY FROM THE COMPLAINT.
Paper Work Reduction Act 3507(g) and 5 CFR 1320.8(b)(1) mention the mandatory expiry of an OMB number after 3 years. I am curious, why does CBP continue to use CBP Form 6059B (OMB NO. 1651-0009) showing an expiry in (10/07)? Why does it say in the Paper Work Reduction Act notice (bottom of backside) that a response is mandatory, but nowhere does it comply with 6 CFR 5.34 (c)(4) by listing "The effects on the individual, if any, of not providing the information;"?
CONSIDER FOR FOIA REQUEST
When I received my MP3 player back, I noticed that the officers had recorded themselves.
What is an Execution File?
What has Officer Centare discovered?
What is an IOL?