July 24, 2016

"A Wall Street Journal reporter was detained by federal agents at the Los Angeles airport who demanded to confiscate her two cell phones -- and was surprised to find that border agents have the authority to do that."

CNN: Maria Abi-Habib, a reporter who covers the Middle East for the paper, detailed in a long Facebook post Thursday how Department of Homeland Security agents detained her in "a special section of LAX airport" to ask her questions. by Frank Pallotta and Jose Pagliery

'Abi-Habib has both U.S. and Lebanese citizenship and was traveling on an American passport. She was flying into Los Angeles from Beirut last Thursday when she taken out of line at immigration.

'"They grilled me for an hour," she wrote. "I answered jovially, because I've had enough high-level security experiences to know that being annoyed or hostile will work against you."

'Abi-Habib said that the agents then asked for her cellphones in order to "collect information."

'DHS acknowledged the incident occurred. The agency asserted it has legal authority to confiscate anyone's electronics on their way into the country.

'This journalist's encounter last week highlights a little-known federal policy: Border patrol agents have sweeping powers to search a person -- even without "reasonable suspicion" of any crime.'

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