CIS secondary screening

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Coming through customs and immigration in Vancouver on my way back into the US I was selected for secondary screening (apparently because I made the mistake of asking one of the agents where I could wait for Fluffy.) Nothing particularly unusual about that, of course, but once I got into the back room he wanted to know about other trips I'd been on, see my driver's license, know where I worked, how long I'd worked there, see a business card, etc. (All this after I'd passed the immigration checkpoint.)

Of course, I've certainly been asked questions by immigration people when entering other countries, but since I'm a US citizen, it's not like there's any question that I have a legitimate right to reenter the country. Presumably this is all designed to detect whether I'm smuggling beavers into the country by seeing if I act nervous under questioning. If so, I must have failed, since he ended up searching my bag.

4 Comments

You're just lucky he didn't decide he needed to search your entire laptop hard drive. Under the 9th Circuit's US v Romm ruling, he could do just that without even probable cause.

No officer, my hard drive isn't encrypted because I'm a terrorist. It's because I work in security, honest!

It would be interesting to see them trying to search the FreeBSD partition

It finally hit me. The TSA reads your blog. So when they saw you questioning the CQ(OL)ZBOS, they called their DHS brethren over at CIS to make sure you got some extra special attention.

However, someone must have interceded at your behalf. Otherwise you would have received a particularly uncomfortable form of secondary screening (not that there's anythign wrong with that).

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