DHS stops NYT reporters at border, lies about it


“Filed a FOIA request” is how I would characterize this,as opposed to “suing”.

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The court document is embedded in the TechDirt article. This is not one of Cory’s hyperbolic moments.


I’m aware that the US government is in some ways corrupt and capable of all kinds of horrible policy stances, but I’m still surprised by this kind of small-scale “fuck you we don’t have to follow the law because we just don’t” nonsense.

DHS is badly in need of adult supervision.


Note that “typing the answers into a computer” doesn’t necessarily mean that the answers went anywhere. This may have been pure security theater with the computer acting only as a tool of intimidation, rather than actual data collection. If so, DHS could be telling the truth about not having any records of the incident.

In which case the question would then become one of why the DHS agents in question thought this was a good thing to do to these individuals. I grant that this isn’t as satisfying to object to, but arguably it’s a more important question.


"Note that “typing the answers into a computer” doesn’t necessarily mean that the answers went anywhere… "

The Ministry of Truth should still have a record that they attempted to pass through that checkpoint, that their IDs were run through the system, that they were questioned, and how they were disposed of.


Granted, assuming that the DHS is competent and that any part of it is security rather than security theater.

I do so assume, but I wouldn’t be shocked to be wrong.

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They’ve been that way since they were established. Hell, I’ve watched police argue with them over their parking next to a fire zone, you know, where they paint the red lines that only emergency vehicles can stop at? And that was in 2002. Doubtless they’ve gotten better at arguing they get to do anything they want “in the name of national security” by now.

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Yea, kind of a weird area semantically I guess.

It is called a “complaint”, but then the first line says (I’m paraphrasing) “this is an action under FOIA for the production of records”.

Normally when lawyers talk about FOIA, it would be said “so and so made a FOIA request”, whereas if someone crashed their moped into someone’s house, it would be said “P is suing D for damages caused by the moped crash”.

That being said, you are right, the government is being “sued”; but it just sort of feels weird to say that in the FOIA context (to me anyways).

DHS wasn’t entering in the data from the questions asked of the reporters. They were moonlighting as NSA agents playing World of Warcraft.


That’s lawyer speak for ya. It can be goofy to read as an outsider (IANAL, btw, I’ve just gotten used to a fair amount of their jargon over the years). Making this complaint to the courts is the only recourse we have when government agencies refuse or fail to comply with FOIA.

Watch those journalists get put on the Do Not Fly list.

I think the distinction between a FOIA request and a suit is that you make a FOIA request of the appropriate agency. When that agency doesn’t respond satisfactorily, you might go to court to force the agency to respond. That’s what’s happening here. I (IANAL) think it’s perfectly appropriate to call it a suit.

I wholeheartedly recommend that these journalists, with their “questions” and their “talking” and their “computer typing” stay well away from any police officers in the American Southwest.

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