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Federal Agents Confiscate Cell Phones of Wall Street Journal Reporter

Maria Abi-Habib pictured on the left, via Facebook.

Maria Abi-Habib pictured on the left, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal agents detained a Wall Street Journal reporter and confiscated her two cell phones at a Los Angeles airport.

Maria Abi-Habib, who covers the Middle East, wrote in detail about the incident on Facebook.

“My rights as a journalist or US citizen do not apply at the border, as explained above, since legislation was quietly passed in 2013 giving DHS very broad powers (I researched this since the incident),” the reporter wrote on Facebook. “This legislation also circumvents the Fourth Amendment that protects Americans’ privacy and prevents searches and seizures without a proper warrant.”

She said the agents wanted her cell phone to “collect information.”

“That is where I drew the line,” Abi-Habib wrote. “I told her I had First Amendment rights as a journalist she couldn’t violate and I was protected under.”

A federal agent provided a document that shows the government has a right to confiscate phones within 100 miles of U.S. borders.

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