Aug 21 2006

Opening International Mail

Published by at 10:40 am under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

I forgot that the US SC has allowed international mail to be opened without warrant or probable cause, as noted in this piece from the Enterprise Institute, which is dissects the amateurish opinion of Diggs Talyor:

She also says that the surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment. But that provision only bans “unreasonable searches and seizures,” not all searches and seizures. Customs agents have the right to search, without a warrant, you and your luggage (including your PC) when you enter this country. The Border Patrol can stop and search recent arrivals here when they are miles from the border. The Supreme Court has authorized customs officers to open incoming international mail without a warrant. It is not clear how a phone call or email originating overseas deserves more protection than clothing, the contents of a computer, or international mail. The Supreme Court has upheld all of these exceptions to constitutional limits on searches.

I should know, my busniness mail from the UK and Germany has been opened up for years. I have become so used to it I forgot all about it! Nearly all my mail has been opened and reviewed, including SW licenses from an EU provider. But the point is one which will kill off the debate on the NSA-FISA issue. Since any mail, without any connection to known terrorists, can be opened as it crosses our borders then clearly email and phone conversations with known terrorists which cross our border must be fair game. How is it we have so much trouble with the NSA providing leads to the FBI and FISA? Do we really want to turn off the intelligence leads picked up for possible terrorists here in the US? Where is the sanity in opening any and all mail, but not passing leads of known terrorist contacts for local law enforcement to check out?

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Opening International Mail”

  1. az redneck says:

    How has the world missed that little parallel? You continue to amaze!

  2. HaroldHutchison says:

    Is the HTML screwy?

    Seriously, that is the case with foreign mail. I’ve heard of one Italian knife company that says that if the switchblade you ordered is seized in customs, they will re-ship it for free. So, I’ve known for a while that the U.S. opens mail.

    I also know that there is at least one company out there that really believes in customer service. 🙂

  3. carol johnson says:

    Excellent AJ!! Somebody get this to the DOJ, the NSA, the Appellate Courts, and let’s not forget the SCOTUS! We gotta stop this nonsense before it gets any further…or before somebody gets the bright idea that it should be illegal to search international mail too.



  4. Barbara says:


    You asked where is the sanity of opening international mail but we can’t monitor international phone calls. The dems have no sanity.

  5. Terrye says:

    I read long ago that during WW2 FDR tapped all overseas phone calls. Of course there were not so many of them, but the idea was that in time of war Presidents can do things like that.

  6. lurker9876 says:

    Is this opening of international mail allowed even during peacetime?

    And there is such a difference between reasonable and unreasonable searches!

    Who decides what’s reasonable or not in terms of NSA foreign surveillance?