Via James Fallows at The Atlantic comes this extremely disturbing tale of a pilot, David Blackburn of San Diego, whose fourth-amendment rights were egregiously violated by federal authorities. A quote from the article:
I asked him who all these people were and he informed me that he had three agencies investigating me and they were Homeland Security, The FBI, and DEA. Each team had their own dogs that would be going through the aircraft and that they would be as careful as they could. I gave permission for him to search the aircraft.
That is when he brought out 3 dogs and what appeared to be 3 separate teams of two people with each dog. One team went in at a time and after they were done they came over to ask me questions.
At some point I was taken behind one of the vans and asked questions. I asked to be in front of the vans as I wanted to see what if anything was going into the aircraft and they said no they wanted me right where I was. They asked about other passengers, Mexico, drugs and money each time. They would not allow me to make any calls and this went on till the wee hours in the morning for at least 4 hours.
At this point I was shaking in my boots. I was absolutely concerned they were going to plant something in my aircraft. After they completed their questioning over and over again they finally instructed me to move my aircraft to a different parking area and that the security would escort me off the airport and that they were done.
Deeply disturbing. Part of being American is being free to travel unmolested across state lines, and being free from the threat of unreasonable search and seizure. More disturbing is Mr Blackburn’s suspicion that his phone is tapped, as this incident arose after a cell phone conversation he had with a friend.
This sort of behavior by the federal government is un-American; it is something I would expect of the USSR, or some insane South American dictatorship. I urge all of you, pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike, to write your congressman and demand to know why federal agents are detaining and searching pilots.