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NEWS: U.S. Opening Some Private Mail in Terror Fight

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posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 12:37 AM
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US officials with Customs and Border Protection are now on record as saying they open personal mail that arrives from abroad when they deem it nessary to protect the country from terrorism. One of theyre areas of responsibility is to inspect international mail entering the US for "terrorist weapons" . The policy is drawing attention after a 81 year old man reported that a letter he received from abroad had been opened and resealed.
 



www.cnn.com
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. officials are opening personal mail that arrives from abroad when they deem it necessary to protect the country from terrorism, a Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman said Monday.

News of the little-known practice follows revelations that the government approved eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without judicial oversight after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which sparked concern from civil liberties advocates and some lawmakers, who called for congressional hearings.

Grant Goodman, an 81-year-old retired history professor, drew attention to the policy after a letter he received from a colleague in the Philippines was opened and resealed by Customs and Border Protection, and only then sent on to him.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Well another question about how much freedom you actually have in the US when mail you receive is opened before you get it. I know its coming from abroad but how does a letter pose a security risk to the US? Maybe that is a question that needs some answers.




posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 02:06 AM
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Anthrax poses a threat to the U.S. and terrorits put that in evelopes so I think (one of the few times I do) the govt may be right on this one. Maybe. Huge maybe.



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 02:38 AM
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No worries needed there Conspiracy Theorist06, the last Anthrax spreads were all with US Military grade Anthrax. No need to fear it comming from outside the US, it seems to be most easely obtainable in the US itself.



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 07:58 AM
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There is a certain question of, if you are giving your mail to the government, why can't they open it? If you don't want a libertarian issue of government intrusion, then one would perhaps not even be using the US postal service in the first place, and state that the government shouldn't be delivering mail at all.

Its pretty obvious that communications can be of interest to national security, let alone that they can carry toxins.



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 09:42 AM
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Nygdan,

Technically, the USPS is no longer a government agency. Also there is no need to open letters. They have sensors at all of the major postal centers that "snif" for things like anthrax and other bio-weapons. For parcels its the same way. Also something that is not mentioned above is this: was a warrant obtained to look at the mail. If there was probable cause and a warrant was given, I don't think I have too much of an issue with this. If not then this is a big invasion.

Finally, who opened the package? Was it the Postal Service or Customs? It makes a difference. I have less of an issue with Customs, since their job is to make sure whatever is being sent into this country is safe/legal. If was the Postal Service I would say this is a big no-no. There job is to deliver the mail and gaurantee its integrity.

[edit]Okay. I went back and looked at the original post and it said US officials and Customs. I'm a little (and thats only a little) more comfortable with customs searching instead of the USPS. But what U.S Officials are they speaking of? Homeland Security, FBI, CIA?

[edit on 1/10/2006 by tonedef]



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 10:35 AM
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The USPS doesn't open the mail itself, it's passed through U.S. Customs (now a part of Homeland Security) and they have the power to open anything they want to for any reason, just like any private shipping company like FedEX or UPS would have to do in order to bring packages into this country.

[edit on 1/10/2006 by djohnsto77]



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 10:51 AM
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Was it a piece of paper inside the enveloppe? I find it odd that the Customs would feel the need to open the enveloppe if there was no solid object or hazardous substances detected inside.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind Customs oppening boxes that's their job, I get my international packages opened at the borders often and they put a sticker on the box indicating they did. But what we write in a personal letter is none of their business. Pretexting war on terror to read our private mail, yeah right, we are not that dumb.

It's been proven anyway that terrorists talk in codes, you cannot correlate any particular word to the attacks, but only after the facts. How is spying on your wife chit-chating with a friend helping catch the bad guys?

I see the "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about" crowd coming. Well, listen geniuses, in all your law abiding citizen glory, when the government are listening to your phone calls and reading your personal mail, you already became an enemy, don't you think?



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 10:51 AM
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I finally got a chance to read the cnn article referenced in the original post. This doesn't look like any big deal. Its Customs doing their job. My only issue is why open a letter of some retired history professor, but not search every container comming into port every day. Its alot easier to hide stuff in shipping containers than it is an envelope...Just a thought.



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 11:10 AM
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Was it a piece of paper inside the enveloppe? I find it odd that the Customs would feel the need to open the enveloppe if there was no solid object or hazardous substances detected inside.


Some drugs can be effectively hidden in an envelope without any outright sign, '___' can even be transported in quanitity soaked into paper.

Also, someone else posted here on a similar topic that customs is very interested in stopping child pornography photographs, which are just paper themselves.


df1

posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 11:46 AM
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djohnsto77
Some drugs can be effectively hidden in an envelope without any outright sign, '___' can even be transported in quanitity soaked into paper.

Also, someone else posted here on a similar topic that customs is very interested in stopping child pornography photographs, which are just paper themselves.

Disgusting. This type government intrusion started in the guise of protecting us from terrorism which was an easy sell to most Americans after 9/11. Now our faux patriots are defending further expansion of the governments use of these same tactics in the name of the "drug war" and pornography. U.S. citizens are whimpering cowards, ripe for the picking by the demagogues in control of our government

At what point are you willing to limit government intrusion?
.



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 05:34 PM
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People in the US should also try ordering food and drink from a company abroad. US customs now won't allow the orders through, not even from a company based in the UK. Even a packet of crisps (chips) is banned under the anti-terrorist regulations.



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 06:03 PM
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You've had this in the United Kingdom for years now.

Whenever you get a package in the post from outside of Europe [European Union] they are meant to check the contents of it and to make sure it matches what is said on the outside. They then tax you out of the ass, so they can do that...oh the joys.



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 06:07 PM
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And not just customs agents & border patrol, FBI as well.
Reported by Reuters early last year but went under the radar as planned.
www.msnbc.msn.com...







 
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