"Being a US citizen did not entitle me to rights that I probably thought", says TSA.

Small town mayor relinquishes electronics and passwords to agents at SFO

Stockton, California Mayor Anthony R. Silva attended a recent mayor's conference in China, but his return trip took a bit longer than usual. At the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) this week, agents with the Department of Homeland Security detained Silva and confiscated his personal cell phone among other electronics. According to comments from the mayor, that may not even be the most alarming part.

"Unfortunately, they were not willing or able to produce a search warrant or any court documents suggesting they had a legal right to take my property," Silva told SFGate. "In addition, they were persistent about requiring my passwords for all devices."

The mayor's attorney, Mark Reichel, told SFGate that Silva was not allowed to leave the airport without forfeiting his passwords. Reichel was not present for Silva's interaction with the DHS agents, either. The mayor was told he had "no right for a lawyer to be present" and that being a US citizen did not "entitle me to rights that I probably thought," according to the paper.

(Also, "rights" by definition are not "entitlements", you illiterate motherfuckers. If you've sworn to uphold the Constitution and you can't explain the difference between rights and privileges, maybe you don't deserve its protection either.)

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , ,

15 Responses:

  1. Karl says:

    To be fair, it was probably CBP, not TSA. :P

    (TSA doesn't even operate at SFO--security is handled by a contractor, Covenant Aviation Security)

    • Captain Obvious says:

      .....contracted by whom and working under whose authority? They're not just chillin' at SFO out of the kindness of their hearts. To say it wasn't TSA's fuckup is to say TSA has no say in how security at airports in the US goes, and that's literally TSA's raison d'fuckingetre.

      • Not Frank says:

        I read the grandparent poster to be saying that it wasn't TSA, but another tentacle of DHS (i.e. Customs and Border Patrol) -- which was the overarching agency mentioned in the article. TSA is the tentacle of DHS that gets all the shit because it's the most obvious tentacle... but since he was coming back from China, Customs was certainly involved, and Customs loves to do that "your rights don't apply because you aren't legally in the country yet" shit, and doesn't usually wind up getting smacked for it the way TSA does.

        • Brendan says:

          Which is particularly ironic, considering the (completely deserved) fuss people make about Chinese government agencies' snooping / cloning / compromising of foreign visitors' phones and computers.

        • anonnymoose says:

          > I read the grandparent poster to be saying that it wasn't TSA...

          I agree with you that it's very likely that CBP was responsible for the detention. However, I don't agree with your statement. Grandparent poster literally said:

          > (TSA doesn't even operate at SFO--security is handled by a contractor, Covenant Aviation Security)

          While this assertion is literally true, such contractors operate with the permission and under the oversight of the TSA, and must comply with and enforce all TSA rules, procedures, and policies.

  2. Modok says:

    It's comforting to know that the only thing separating us from third world nations is that the psychopaths are far smarter, better funded, better armed, and cloaked in more pernicious layers of secrecy and beaurocracy.

    ...Sorry, think I misspoke, there. I meant the opposite of that.

  3. BART says:

    Just imagine how it is when you are NOT a US citizen visiting (and therefore have ZERO right whatsoever).

    If you are and come in while refusing to relinquish your passwords or whatever, you will be sent back on the next flight at your own costs, or worse, detained in the USA.

    But there's more. Even if you comply with everything - but for some reason there's some remote suspicious that you may be (whatever really, from terrorist to cheese dealer to whatever) you can be equally sent back at your own cost.

    So yeah, you citizens think it's horrible, yet you have it good, you'll "only" be detained for hours. That's how bad things are.

    • phuzz says:

      I wonder how many people jump the fence from Caneda or Mexico just because it's quicker and easier than getting a flight and having to deal with the TSA?

    • k3ninho says:

      Is it a legitimate second amendment right to have a trapdoor false password which wipes the data from your own hardware? You may join a respectable computerised and well-organised militia for the very purpose of having access to such Wassenaar Agreement type munitions.

      Until the EFF become as dangerous a lobbying group as the NRA -- insisting in their own way that our computer programs are not able to be secured.

      • Anticipatory obstruction of justice, up to 20 years in the pen. Best not to get clever, because prosecutors are clever too.

        • Big says:


          If you're concerned about TSA/DHS/NSA getting your devices data and passwords - travel with burner devices with nothing on them you care about. Download what you need to them after you've passed border control...

          (Though I'm reasonably sure they'll then just start demanding Facebook/Google/Twitter/Dropbox/whatever passwords even if you don't have those apps/services installed on your travel phone/laptop...)

  4. I was once detained by pre-TSA ICE agents, who told me that I had no right to a lawyer. I think the specific wording was something like "you have no rights because you are not in the United States."

    Does that fall under "law enforcement is allowed to lie to you"? Because it appears to be a lie:


    • anonnymoose says:


      If you were a US citizen, returning to the US the thing to remember to tell ICE agents is that multiple Federal courts have recognized the right of a US citizen to return to the US. (AIUI, this right -unfortunately- doesn't necessarily apply to that citizen's personal effects.)

      You could direct them to Worthy v. United States, United States v. Wheeler, United States v. Ju Toy, or any of a handful of other cases.

    • margaret says:

      ima curious if it's not the US then wtf authority do they have there?

  • Previously