One of the more extreme government abuses of the post-9/11 era targets U.S. citizens re-entering their own country, and it has received far too little attention.
With no oversight or legal framework whatsoever, the Department of Homeland Security routinely singles out individuals who are suspected of no crimes, detains them and questions them at the airport, often for hours, when they return to the U.S. after an international trip, and then copies and even seizes their electronic devices (laptops, cameras, cellphones) and other papers (notebooks, journals, credit card receipts), forever storing their contents in government files. No search warrant is needed for any of this.
No oversight exists. And there are no apparent constraints on what the U.S. Government can do with regard to whom it decides to target or why.
In an age of international travel -- where large numbers of citizens, especially those involved in sensitive journalism and activism, frequently travel outside the country -- this power renders the protections of the Fourth Amendment entirely illusory.