A Man Who Kept His Promise

By:Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryThis story began in 2010, at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago of all places. A man named David House was returning from Mexico when he was stopped by officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Without a warrant, he was held against his will, questioned for hours about his relationship with U.S. Private Bradley Manning (the sources of the leaks for the organization Wikileaks), and his laptop and all its information was seized. The personnel at Homeland Security then copied the information in his laptop without House’s permission, and then eventually released House to continue back home to his native Boston.

Immediately, David House contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to fight what the U.S. government did to him. Every single federal court has ruled against the U.S. government, citing very specifically that they had violated his fourth and first amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, and that search and seizure of any personal property without a warrant was unacceptable. The government tried to justify seizing any and all personal data at the border (or in this case the airport), but none of the courts bought it. Three years later, the U.S. government, knowing that every court would rule against it, gave-up the case. The government settled with House. In return, all of the data that the government had collected from House was to be destroyed and all materials relevant to House’s case was to be turned over to House.

I should explain that David House is a supporter of Bradley Manning, the man who leaked especially sensitive U.S. government information to Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks. House was raising funds for Manning’s legal case when he was intercepted at O’Hare. While I do not support nor endorse what Bradley Manning did, I certainly cannot accept what the U.S. government did to House. House was simply carrying out legal activities protected by the U.S. Constitution, and what the U.S. government did was serious over-reach. This type of extra-legal activity by the U.S. government must be fought and checked. Before House went to court, he made a solemn promise to all his friends and supporters that he would make sure that the U.S. government did not keep and use the information stored on his laptop against them. Now that the government has to destroy this information, he has kept his promise to those he knows. But more than that, he has kept a solemn promise to help in his own way to maintain and protect the freedoms and legal rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

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