Secretive CBP Counterterrorism Teams Interrogated 180,000 U.S. Citizens Over Two-Year Period
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A CBP spokesperson told The Intercept and Type Investigations that the teams, which are trained to conduct counterterrorism interrogations, currently operate at 79 ports of entry and in all 20 of the Border Patrol sectors nationwide. The units consist of CBP officers and Border Patrol agents who work closely with CBP’s National Targeting Center, which gathers and vets intelligence. Since its inception in 2015, the TTRT program has expanded its scope beyond counterterrorism, the spokesperson added, to include other areas such as “counterintelligence, transnational organized crime as well as biological threats.”
Unlike other law enforcement or intelligence agencies, CBP has been given the authority by Congress to conduct warrantless searches, which it uses to collect enormous amounts of personal information, often from U.S. citizens. Within 100 miles of any U.S. land or coastal boundary, CBP can detain, question, search, and seize property with fewer restrictions than law enforcement in the interior of the country. The area encompasses some 200 million people and some of the country’s largest cities, including Houston and New York City.
“They have free rein to target folks that have never presented a security threat or red flag for the government — even put them on a terrorist watchlist,” said Kim, who added that the most surprising revelation from the documents was the number of U.S. citizens — more than 180,000 — who were questioned by TTRTs between 2017 and 2019. At least 14 of those U.S. citizens were ultimately denied entry into the United States. The reasoning behind the extreme measure is redacted in the FOIA documents. When CBP was asked under what circumstances TTRTs could deny entry to U.S. citizens, the agency declined to comment, issuing the following written statement instead: “Applicants for admission bear the burden of proof to establish that they are clearly eligible to enter the United States.”
All this information is used to search for patterns and associations based on secretive algorithms to create a “risk assessment” for every foreign traveler and U.S. citizen, said Levinson-Waldman. CBP can change its criteria for risk at any time, which target certain travelers for increased scrutiny. Levinson-Waldman cited hypothetical examples of people who might be flagged, ranging from married couples traveling from Turkey to anyone who has flown from Syria. “We really have no idea,” she said.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
September 7, 2021 at 10:31 PM #444532retired liberalParticipant
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We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
The older we get, the less "Life in Prison" is a deterrent.
Always wear a proper mask when out and about. The life you save could be both yours and mine.
Don't forget that the S in IoT stands for Security.
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