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A well-known blogger on Middle Eastern affairs, Matthew Good, reports on his latest Department of Homeland Security reception on returning home at the Detroit Metro Airport following a long stay in Lebanon.
They were actually very polite and I wasn’t really bothered until they pulled out my laptop. At first I thought they probably want me to just turn it on to make sure I wasn’t hiding a bomb in it. But then I was asked to put in my password and soon one of the customs officers was going through my personal files and photos. Something that really bothered me, I felt a complete invasion of privacy.
I was questioned behind the reason I had a document saved from a Lebanese newspaper, I then explained my interest in middle east politics and that I used to write for Dose and I blog occasionally. This was followed by the question “Do you write anti-American material?” I said I didn’t, that I mostly concentrated on Middle East politics but for some reason one of the officers said that sometimes even Americans wrote anti-American material. I really wanted to say that those are probably the ones that are in jail. They then asked for the websites addresses that I blog on (So Matt, you might get a couple of extra fans) I just thought the wording was interesting, I mean asking if I criticized US politics is one thing but to ask about Anti-American material made me feel like they were insulting my intelligence. I mean even if someone was would they really admit it?
I don’t know about you, but I feel much safer knowing that customs agents interrogate U.S. citizens about the political content of their blogging. It gives a whole new meaning to Department of Homeland Security, don’t you think?
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Number of tombstones in Tombstone, Arizona:
Electrofishing on the Irrawaddy River deters dolphins from their habit of assisting fishermen.
Trump tweeted that “millions of people” had illegally cast ballots in last month’s presidential election, and the Washington Post identified four cases of voter fraud across the country.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."