Report: Americans Required By Israeli Security To Give Access To Their Personal Email Accounts At Airport

This report in Haaretz details a highly disturbing account of how Israel’s Shin Bet security service interrogated American citizens with Arab backgrounds for hours and demanded access to their personal email accounts at Ben Gurion Airport. After spending a night in custody, they were denied entry into Israel in May. If these accounts are true, why has there been no formal and public objection from the Obama Administration?

Najwa Doughman, a 25-year-old architect from New York, was visiting Israel for the third time. She was traveling with a friend, Sasha Al-Sarabi, 24. Both women have Palestinian roots and were taken into custody for extensive searches and prolonged interrogation. They recount how security officials demanded to know why Najwa would return to Israel, whether she felt “more Arab or more American?” and whether she wanted to visit Al-Aqsa.

The security officials demanded her access code and proceeded to read out load her email conversations about Israel and other subjects.

The account details highly abusive treatment of Americans by a country that still receives billions in aid from the United States. That money comes from all of our citizens, including those with Arab backgrounds. If this account is true, there should be a public demand for answers from the State Department, but there has been total silence from the Obama Administration. The silence is as disturbing as the allegation, in my view.

The Israeli government has reported told the newspaper that everything was done in a perfectly lawful manner under Israeli law.

Source: Haaretz

54 thoughts on “Report: Americans Required By Israeli Security To Give Access To Their Personal Email Accounts At Airport

  1. Jacob, you make my case. Since when has Israel’s “record of democracy and human rights [which] finds no equal in the Middle East.” been any comparison to brag over?

    In any case, I am not interested in engaging a debate over just how superior Israel is to strawmen. It’s not the Israel most humanistic Jews would have envisioned. And I’m also not all that interested in debating OT why I believe that is the case.

    Suffice to say I don’t think you have much standing to question my own understanding of values in my family, dead or alive. Nor do I have standing to evaluate, what seem to me as, your own un-Jewish inclinations. That’s where the problem comes in, isn’t it, conflating religious and political motives?

  2. I am no lawyer, but isn’t search only motivated by a warrant or observation or reasonable suspicion?

    So what qualifies these highly invasive tactics?
    Or is it simply a form of “learning” us to accept such
    invasions of privacy, or indeed being formed to accept invasions per se, couple with humiliation?

    Can I use a video to record such an encounter?

  3. Why has there been no formal and public objection from the Obama Administration? For the same reason we didn’t hear anything from them about the murder of Furkan Doğan.

  4. Bottom line….the Obama administration, the State Department, will have nothing to say simply because it’s Israel and god forbid anyone be the least critical of Israel!

  5. I am no lawyer, but isn’t search only motivated by a warrant or observation or reasonable suspicion?

    So what qualifies these highly invasive tactics?
    Or is it simply a form of “learning” us to accept such invasions of privacy, or indeed being formed to accept invasions per se, couple with humiliation?

    It’s not clear this is the treatment that is given to everyone they question. (Though it might be).

    But a cursory google of her name makes clear she is an activist, proudly so, and makes no bones about it.

    So it’s not clear the Israelis didn’t already have her on a watch list, and didn’t already have reasons they would call reasonable suspicion for this sort of interrogation.

    I think it’s terribly intrusive, and they should have just kicked her out, but I suspect what they did obnoxious as it was, was completely legal. (Though I really have no clue.)

    Can I use a video to record such an encounter?

    Magic 8 Ball says: Outlook not so good.

  6. I think Israel’s behavior here is counter productive from a PR standpoint, but since I am not a security expert, and since I don’t know what they know about her or about security, and since their treatement seems legal and humane even if intrusive, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. They have concerns I consider to be real and valid.

    I honestly don’t understand the poutrage here except as a knee jerk reaction.

    I know that with my US Passport I should be able to expect the 7th Fleet to get me out of trouble when I am abroad, but I never expected my US Passport would guarantee me admittance into any other country.

    For the longest time, Saudi Arabia made it very difficult for Jewish Americans to enter there, even at times we were giving Saudia Arabia foreign aid.

    I am much more concerned with TSA and Customs inspections and confiscation of my and all citizen’s electronic devices when crossing borders than I am about how Israel treats a person on their no fly list before she enters their country.

    I don’t understand the argument that because we give aid to Israel they need to admit all US citizens, or promise not to go through their gmail or facebook accounts.

    I doubt our FBI or CIA treats us that way, much less potential visitors from other countries. They are probably more circumspect about it, however.

  7. Idealist707: Can I use a video to record such an encounter?

    You can’t even use pen and paper.
    A pen is a dangerous weapon, and it would frighten people with guns. THis is official.

    “They said that my pen was a dangerous weapon. So that’s what—that’s Agent Wassum who said that, that my pen was a threat to them. And, you know, I mean, in terms of the context, you have to understand that I’m surrounded by border agents who are all carrying guns, and I’m taking out, you know, a pen that they find threatening. And so, this was, you know, profoundly upsetting. And then I was taken into—I was taken directly into an interrogation room and questioned. I took out my pen again. I was ordered by another agent to put it away. And this went on for quite some time. And I was told during this interrogation—I mean, I’m always asserting my rights as a journalist to not reveal my work, my sources.”
    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/20/detained_in_the_us_filmmaker_laura

    I think paper would be a dangerous weapon also.
    Did you ever get a paper cut? Nasty and painful.

  8. My apologies to all, and esp. ANON.
    I did not point to what I was reacting to in my last point as to grounds for invasive searchs.
    I was referring to the police in the USA scanning cellphones at traffic stops with no warrants, etc.

    Not what occurred in Israel.
    Would be stupid to question their laws, don’t have an idea what they are. They were nice enough to without asking (I knew nothing) in 1967. to pin my visa onto the last page of the passport. So the arab countries would not deny me entrance. Mention it just for comparison purposes. They all were nice at the Jerusalem crossover. Not a wusi-kusi in sight.

  9. Hey ID7,

    Yes, there is a ton of scanning of various sorts going on at the border, and even at traffic stops, and the courts seem to be condoning it.

    I know a Dow 30 company I used to work for basically made it standard that if you were traveling across a border you needed to switch your standard laptop for a special company clean laptop that the company did not mind losing to the Feds. They mainly encouraged everyone to not carry laptops across borders.

    And there are devices sold to law enforcement that lets them swiftly (under 5 minutes) break in and download almost everything from a cell phone, and specifcally from iPhones.

    Most of this is considered okay because the court analogies a phone to an address book or something

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57388786-93/court-warrantless-cell-phone-searches-legal/

    Gene Howington can probably verify this, just remember to ignore his actual reasoning because he’s an idiot.

    It’s made worse on iPhone and Android phones because apps like Dropbox connect the phone back to the user’s pc or mac or to files on the cloud and so actually give the cops the ability to search inside a person’s home computer merely by interrogating the phone.

    Can you video this? I would hope so, but I don’t know.

    Instead of videoing it with a cell phone, I highly encourage using qik or justintv or ureach to simultaneously upload and broadcast it live.

  10. AMOM,
    Excellent. Good info at the end about videoing.
    Can you tell Iphone users how they can take away the coupling to the Cloud and the home computer?
    Keep up this good work with intrusion fighting.

  11. “Can you tell Iphone users how they can take away the coupling to the Cloud and the home computer?”

    If you haven’t explicitly done this, you don’t have (much) to worry about.

    These linkages involve loading the dropbox app, or google drive, or microsoft skydrive, or sugar sync or a variety of apps that explicitly make these links.

    My phone probably has 2 or 3 of these apps and I find them very useful but one reason why I am concerned that the cops can take my phone and start walking through it and actually end up with files that were otherwise on my home’s hard drive.

    “Instead of videoing it with a cell phone, I highly encourage using qik or justintv or ureach to simultaneously upload and broadcast it live.”

    I’d really like to see a revolution in which citizens naturally broadcast, not just record, their interactions with gov’t. I think it would temper how citizens are treated by gov’t servants.

  12. I can’t believe my taxpayer dollars goes to provide aid to the TSA and NSA and CIA.

    http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Kovan-Iraniha-Muslim-No-Fly-List-San-Diego-Costa-Rica-US-SDSU–157797865.html

    Stranded Student Fights ‘No Fly List’
    For now, Kavon Iraniha must find another way to get back to San Diego, without boarding a plane.

    An SDSU graduate, who spent the past year studying international law in Costa Rica, was not allowed to board a flight home to San Diego.

    When San Diego native Kavon Iraniha, 27, went to a Costa Rican airport Tuesday, he was told he could not fly because the U.S. government had put him on the “No Fly List.”

    When he went to the U.S. embassy, Iraniha said he was interviewed by FBI agents for several hours.

    He vented on his Facebook page posting “I don’t have any felonies, I am not a druggie! I am an educated American-Iranian Muslim citizen; I guess that makes me a threat.”

    Back home in San Diego, there were some who questioned the motives behind adding Iraniha to the No Fly List, saying this could be a case of racial profiling.

    “Essentially at the end of the day, he was told he was on a No Fly List with no reason,” said Hanif Mohebi with the Council on American-Islamic relations.

  13. Well, all things considered, just like Furkan Doğan, the US didn’t say anything when the Israelis flattened Rachel Corrie with a back hoe, left Tristan Andersen permanently brain damaged, put out Emily Heinowitz’s eye, shot 1/2 of Brian Avery’s face off, or busted into Dr. Khalid Salah home and killed him his and son Muhammed, age 16.

    What else is new?

Comments are closed.