Your Mail Is Officially Not Safe

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Law

The executive branch shall construe subsection 404(c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the Act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection.

That’s one of the latest signing statement from President Bush. It basically means that the government can look at any piece of mail it wants without the need for a warrant.

What’s even better, the signing statement was hidden in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which Bush purports is, “designed to improve the quality of postal service for Americans and to strengthen the free market for delivery services.”

I’m growing so weary of this nonsense. With these signing statement, Bush has created hundreds of de facto “laws” that nobody has to approve and few even know about. This is just seems flat out wrong. But hey, anything for the promise of an unprovable bit of safety, right?

And just in case you think this is a new thing…think again

A retired Kansas University professor says the federal government has been poking into the mail he receives from abroad.

Grant Goodman on Monday showed the Journal-World a recent letter he had received from a friend in the Philippines; it apparently had been opened, then re-closed with green tape bearing the seal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a message that it had been opened “by Border Protection.�

This is what the picture up top is all about. The incident happened in Decemeber of 2005.

Long live fear.

(UPDATE: As some have pointed out, signing statement aren’t laws, but they serve as pretty much just that. Come on people…work with me here. I changed it to read “de facto “laws”".)


This entry was posted on Saturday, December 30th, 2006 and is filed under Law. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

44 Responses to “Your Mail Is Officially Not Safe”

  1. CPT Kevin Says:

    It does not surprise me. They listen to your phone calls, now they read your mail. Bush should be impeached.

  2. letter carrier Says:

    The US Dept of Customs can open anything that comes through their buildings. it has nothing to do with the USPS.

  3. profmarcus Says:

    just add that to the warrantless searches and seizures now playing at your local u.s. customs checkpoint for travelers arriving from abroad… i had my laptop seized when arriving in sfo from europe in early june and not returned for three weeks… reason given…? forensics… i have since passed through u.s. customs twice without incident but not without a great deal of advance trepidation… thanks for bringing your fear tactic up close and personal, george…

  4. UnhappyDad Says:

    My daughter ordered a Ganesh ring from India. She also got the razor blade sneak a peek and green tape treatment.

  5. dav Says:

    This really frightens me. That and all this time I thought my porn magazines coming in the black bags would allay any suspicion. Now I know the goverment knows I read Oui. Dang!

  6. Kilgore Trout Says:

    F The President

  7. dav Says:

    On a side note, I guess buying Absinthe in the mail seems like a really bad idea from this point on.

  8. SouthernYankeej Says:

    Thank god this nightmare will be over in 08. I hope people will continue to pay attention to the right wingnuts and we don’t see another president like that again. Far left and far right is really doing damage to this country. Always remember freedom of speech and the freedom of the press is what this country has going for it. The press for to long let the adminstration get away with to much. The democrats didn’t hold bush’s feet to the fire on Iraq because they feared being called traders to the cause. Now look what has happened no one has held this adminstration to all their lies.

  9. Dan Says:

    There is no such thing as privacy anymore nor has there been for years. Further , It is extremely unlikely that no matter who is in the White House that this will change. What used to be private information is now a fungible commodity traded commercially. The corporations which mine this data even have the nerve to claim that their data bases which are composed entirely of your identity, preferences & peculiarities are trade secrets and shockingly the courts have supported these claims.
    While it is sad that the Government opens our mail it is just a tiny symptom of a much more serious underlying problem that we have chosen to ignore.

  10. Infragable Crunk Says:

    If you want something to fear, fear the IRS. They can lock down all your accounts and tear through your private lives like you wouldn’t believe. And the assumption the whole time is “You did this to yourself, we’re just trying to help you pay your dues.” Hey, the IRS got Al Capone where the rest of the governmental bodies were powerless.

    As goofy as I am being. Bush is simply doing what Presidents in the past have done during times of mass apathy. Usually there are the masses to stand up and shout “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” But they seem sadly quite these days. A simple look at how the Interstate Commerce Clause in the constitution was used by government to wedge their way into controlling intra state commerce will blow your mind. It specifically gave the power to the states, but some how “Necessary and Proper clauses” over rule all.

    Remember the lessons of 9/11……Americans can be frightened into silently watching their constitution usurped.

  11. mark Says:

    haha america is a police state!

    you voted the neocons in – now you have to live with it!

    stupid bloody americans! shut up or you won’t get any pudding.

  12. caroline Says:

    The US is sounding more and more like the old USSR. Wonder when they will have our children spy and report us if we talk negatively about the president.

  13. bibidfd Says:

    what about the folks that allow this 30%’R getting away with this stuff?

  14. xxdr_zombiexx Says:

    I dont know….. that’a pretty suspicious-looking guy.

    Might be a Quaker or something…..

  15. Todd Says:

    > Thank god this nightmare will be over in 08.

    What makes you think it will be? These laws will be in force, and will be accepted by the sheep that are the American public. There will be no loud cry to change them, and the fact that a measurable portion of US citizens think the government should be doing this shows beyond doubt that there is not a democracy called the USA anymore. It’s police-state-lite, and it was accepted by allowing the supreme court to install your new king. Deal with it, since you accepted it by staying and paying taxes for the last 6 years to your ceasar

  16. chimera Says:

    So, how many of you who are objecting or fearing the nascent police state have written to or called your Senators and/or Representatives to tell them to pass legislation outlawing Signing Statements? Your Legislators DON’T READ BLOGS! Make noise that they can hear.

  17. abraham Says:

    Hey Chimera,

    What makes you think senators listen to your phone calls or read your mail either? A majority of people in America voiced opposition to the war, but they voted for it anyway. In fact, the last Congress was not only the most do-nothing in history, it was the most unresponsive to its constituents in perhaps the history of the country. It’s as if they think we put them there because they won a popularity contest and they can do whatever they want, which usually means dressing down corporations for money towards their next election campaign in return for political favors, rather than passing legislation in the interest of the good of the nation.

    Fuck all these bastards, and I mean ALL of them. 2007 should be the year we flush all of Washington. Just drain that swamp as they like to say.

    abraham
    http://hypocalypse.com

  18. Anon Says:

    Several years ago I went on a day trip to Tijuana while I was visiting San Diego. I spent forever getting a photo taken of one of those poor donkeys chained to the corner on the main drag. The fraudsters who take the photos use ancient Victorian cameras and then try to hit you up afterwards for extra fees like the folder that holds the photo while it dries. I didn’t want to appear in the photo but I did want the donkey in a picture. After going through this hassle that seemed to last about an hour and watching all of the cruelty inflicted on the donkey that they roughed up, I later found a sunny “happy” postcard of one these Tijuana donkeys at a shop. I bought it, put an appropriate amount of postage on it, and mailed it to my relatives at my home in the Midwest with a message about all of the cruelty to animals and how third-world it all was. The postcard arrived in the Midwest about three months after I did, with neatly applied super-duper unreadable ink destroying half of my message, all of the pertinent stuff. Courtesy, apparently, of the Mexican government. I’m not sure how this fits into the current discussion of U.S. governmental censorship, but it was certainly discomfiting to see that kind of thing going on.

  19. psymeg Says:

    When we were living in China, it was perfectly normal for packages from overseas to arrive obviously having been opened. They were resealed with tape that read – “Package not properly packed” or something like that.

    Sounds like America is slipping to the level of a totalitarian communist state.

  20. M.J. Swanson Says:

    Mark sounds British. Still mad? Wasn’t that 230 years ago? Seriously-
    freedom needs to be protected. We are not doing enough, but the solutions are simple, just controversial. If you like your freedoms, be vigilant.

  21. sheepy Says:

    Now now you libs, this is for our own security. If you’re not doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to hide. It’s to keep us all safe from the terrorists. Did you forget the anthrax attacks. The FBI is still working on that one. They are the best! G-d bless George Bush! He’s the best President of all time!!!

  22. Activist Says:

    Do you want privacy, or do you want to be safe? The fact that most of you are ignoring, is that under President Bush’s watch, we have been attacked less, both here and abroad, than under any administration, in the last 30 years. Because they know now, that we will stand up and fight, instead of tucking our tails between our legs, and hiding in the closet, waiting for the next time like scared little puppy dogs. I’d rather fight a bully, than roll over a play dead for one. Just a thought.

  23. Jscott Says:

    Hey Activist…Are you insane? Have you forgotten about 9-11? Are you going to be like the rightie at work who tried to tell me that 9-11 happened on Clinton’s watch? And for the record. we are being attacked abroad DAILY. Ever heard of Iraq? Every attack on an American soldier is a terrorist attack on the US, right? Sean Hannity says we are fighting terrorists in Iraq. After 9-11, the number of terrorist attacks increased worldwide, to the point that the US stopped releasing the annual report on the number of worldwide terrorist attacks because it was too embarrassing to the adminsistration. Meanwhile, OBL is still on the loose, dead or alive, while we waste thousands of American lives attacking a country that was not a threat to us or anyone else. Thank you george bush (lowercase intentional).

  24. Infragable Crunk Says:

    Activist,

    Either your just trolling or you have the mind of a child. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and suspect you of trolling.

    If your not, then you need to back to college and get a real education. Learn to think properly. If you follow your logic, because we haven’t been atacked Bush is doing his job in makeing us safe. Ok, then if we follow that logic on other things, “After Clinton left office we were attacked by terrorists, removeing Clinton made the nation weaker and was casued for the 9/11 incident. Republicans caused 9/11 by voteing Bush in.” There isn’t that logic fun? You can apply it all sorts of ways!

  25. Eve Says:

    It’s happening in Denmark, too – I often get post sent from Australia, only to find an end has been torn off and the letters have been handled. And it’s merely harmless mail – letters from friends and family.

    It’s not just the US. :|

  26. Activist Says:

    J Scott: I am not insane. On the contrary. You need to go back and read my post again. I NEVER said that we weren’t attacked under President Bush’s watch, what I said was we have been attacked “less” under President Bush’s watch.
    You libs are all alike. You can’t read. I don’t advocate that 9-11-2001 happened under Clinton’s watch. If he had been President then, it would have. The terrorist were going to do it no matter who was in office. But since then (a fact that all libs ignore), innocent civilians have not been attacked on US soil (including embassies around the world).
    I love taking you libs to school. The US SOLDIERS are being attacked by terrorist, but civilians in the home land are safe.
    Where did you get this information, “the number of attacks increased worldwide……..but the US stopped realising the report because it was too embarassing”? Where did that come from? If you omit terrorist attacks against our armed soldiers in Iraq, I think your statement is wishful thinking. I agree, I would love to have OBL behind bars, or in a box.
    Last thing for you, why can’t you libs get it through your thick skulls, that the UN thought that Iraq was a threat (harboing terrorist Alqueda camps within it’s territorial boundries) that is why they issued like 19 different slaps on the wrist. The CIA (democrat secretary) thought that Iraq was a threat, The other nations thought that Iraq was a threat, that is why they joined the coalition. And lastly (now pay attention) MOST ELECTED DEMOCRATS IN DC thought that Iraq was a threat and voted for the was based on the same information that President George Bush had (Upper case intentional)at the time. Anything else I can do for you? Please don’t confuse FACT with wishful thinking.

  27. Activist Says:

    OK, your turn Infragable Crunk: Sorry to disappoint you, but I am a troll, kinda. I am a Post Office employee who stumbled onto this article out of curiosity. But I am also a retired Marine, and NEVER walk away from a good fight, especially with a lib. So lets get down to it.
    I never went to college. I am a little old high school graduate. I think CLEARLY, for myself, and don’t just follow the party line. That is what libs do mostly. For instance, I am opposed to the way immigration and our borders are being handled. I say we turn the entire border with Mexico into a military base, and keep ILLEGALS from crossing. You could say that removing Clinton made the Nation weaker if you want to, the FACTS are that we were attacked MANY times during his watch. MANY more times (excuding Iraq) than we have under President George W. Bush’s watch. Your logic is flawed but I am not surprised. So let me try some. Who do you think Huessain, Kadafy, OBL, Alzerkowi, and the like would have voted for in 04? Bush, or Kerry? If you can’t answer this one honestly, then your LOGIC is permanently flawed. Of course they wanted Kerry. That chicken little piece of crap would have put us back in the closet (my previous post) with our tails between our legs, free for them to plan another attack. If you don’t believe me, as Netentyahou from Israel. Nice talking to you. Now go read a book, and make up your own mind. ” Why the Left Hates America” – Dan Flynn, is one of the best I have read lately.

  28. Senator Says:

    Activist,
    I must respond to your last post with which I wholeheartedly (and respectfully) disagree. First of all, I think it would be impossible to determine just how some foreign leader or terrorist might have voted in our election in 2004. It could be rightly stated, given your “guess” that both Hitler and Mussolinni would have most likely voted for President Bush given several areas of commonality.
    Secondly, I think it tries to paint those of us who voted for Senator Kerry with the same brush that is saved for “those who hate America.” The underlying theme is clear: the terrorists hate us, as do the “libs,” as you put it. For goodness sake, a book you recommended was entitled “Why the Left Hates America” by Dan Flynn.
    I believe that these vicious characterizations really do nothing to elevate the level of the debate, nor create an atmosphere that engenders harmonious negotiation. Now, Activist I realize you’re not alone. Many on my side of the aisle are just as bad. However, we have much more in common with one another than that which separates us.

  29. Postman Says:

    This is just flat out wrong!!! Bush hijacks any legistlation with his hidden agendas. Just like the “No Child Left Behind” legistaltion that he inserted wordage to allow recruiters to freely enter schools for recruiting purposes w/o school permission or parental permission.

    Bush is a frig’n loon and seems to enjoy destroying our civil liberties, moving total power to the military, and creating unwarranted wars. Striking resemblence to a dictator!

  30. Postman Says:

    It is time for another Boston Tea Party!

  31. ACTIVIST Says:

    Senator: Respectable post. I absolutely love when we can have respectable debate. Unfortunately, that is not generally the rule. But I do appreciate someone who can articulate our differences as you have, even if you are on the other side of the isle. In my experience, most libs can’t debate, or won’t debate, and I find the reason for that is basically, they are uninformed. They just want to spout the party line, but then can’t back it up since it was not their original thought.
    Most are libs because Mom & Dad were, or they belong to a union and feel that they have to be.
    I am in one of the largest unions in the nation, but I am able to see the issues clearly, and able to make up my own mind. 40% of union members vote republican. My union has told me for 20 years now, that if I don’t vote democrat, my job will disappear. I bought it for a while, but after 20 years, I still have a job, and plenty of security. Nice talking to ya. I really agree with your last sentence. Semper fi

  32. Big Dog Says:

    What the hell is everyone ranting about. This isn’t Bush – this is the constitution. Incoming mail from foriegn origin has been inspected for over two hundred years! Customs (now a branch of Homeland Sec) has every right to do this in order to protect both the citizens from harm, and ensure that customs duties are properly collected – you know, prevent smuggling. Its so obvious that Bush-haters will jump at anything to express their contempt for him. This “law” has been around forever – blame Jefferson, Madison, et al if you want to get so excited about this.

  33. DosPeros Says:

    You are absolutely correct DosPeros, but sometimes it is fun to sit back and watch the manufactured outrage and fear. I had started to write a comment on this post several days ago, but I didn’t I really want to interrupt the flow of the legally delusional vomitarium.

    But here is another news flash: Bush Administration has recently declared that police can enter your house without a search warrant if there are exigent circumstances! Bastards…

  34. Bush Decides He Can Open Your Mail Without Warrant | Outlaw News Says:

    [...] • Justin Gardner at Donklephant said Dec. 30 that “Bush has created hundreds of de facto “laws” that nobody has to approve and few even know about. This … just seems flat out wrong.” [...]

  35. Brad Karn USMC Ret. Says:

    If you people don’t want protection for your family’s and children from the terrorist, then you ought to move to Iraq or Iran. Leave our president alone. he is doing a better job of protecting us than anyone has in a long time. Mark my words President Bush will go down in history as one of the greatest presidents of our time, regardless what all the American haters say!!! Brad Karn USMC Ret.

  36. ACTIVIST Says:

    Hey Grunt, I like your thinking. How many times have libs said “I’m going to move” and then not lived up to it. You have some superior genes there friend, and I like the way you think. Semper Fi.

  37. MellowBox » Briefgeheimnis? Nicht mit uns! Says:

    [...] Donklephant – Your mail is officially not safe Telepolis – Bush hebelt Breifgeheimnis aus [...]

  38. MellowBox » Briefgeheimnis? Nicht mit uns! Says:

    [...] Donklephant – Your mail is officially not safe Telepolis – Bush hebelt Breifgeheimnis aus [...]

  39. MellowBox » Briefgeheimnis? Nicht mit uns! Says:

    [...] Donklephant – Your mail is officially not safe Telepolis – Bush hebelt Breifgeheimnis aus [...]

  40. ACTIVIST Says:

    Final post: I guess I wasn’t the troll. It’s been fun.

  41. jimbow8 Says:

    You’re right, they aren’t technically laws.

    They are explanations on how the Executive Branch is planning to interpret and enforce the laws.

  42. Doc Says:

    Don’t think it will be over in ’08 thats when you will get your National ID card.

  43. Jeff Says:

    Activist, keep thinking for yourself. It’s great to see.

    Mark said: “haha america is a police state!
    you voted the neocons in – now you have to live with it!
    stupid bloody americans! shut up or you won’t get any pudding. ”

    this one made me laugh!

  44. Sarah Bernheim Says:

    Just to ensure your safety in opening mails, always make sure to assess the physical appearance of the mail first, where it came from, and who is the sender. Be extra-cautious if it is your first time to open an email that came from a location that is new to you. There are mails that have hazardous material inside their envelopes, hence do reassure yourself that all mails are safe. In fact, there are mails that carried harmful microorganisms from one country to another. The worst thing is that, those harmful microorganisms can cause fatal diseases.

Leave a Reply


NOTE TO COMMENTERS:


You must ALWAYS fill in the two word CAPTCHA below to submit a comment. And if this is your first time commenting on Donklephant, it will be held in a moderation queue for approval. Please don't resubmit the same comment a couple times. We'll get around to moderating it soon enough.


Also, sometimes even if you've commented before, it may still get placed in a moderation queue and/or sent to the spam folder. If it's just in moderation queue, it'll be published, but it may be deleted if it lands in the spam folder. My apologies if this happens but there are some keywords that push it into the spam folder.


One last note, we will not tolerate comments that disparage people based on age, sex, handicap, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry. We reserve the right to delete these comments and ban the people who make them from ever commenting here again.


Thanks for understanding and have a pleasurable commenting experience.


Related Posts: