04 January 2006

History professor's mail opened by Homeland Security

Well, I've received some mangled mail recently, but it didn't have any official government seals on it. Maybe the feds have just gotten tired of all the junk mail and catalogs I get every day and gave up.

Seriously, though, I wouldn't be surprised if they were spying on me. After all, I criticize the Bush administration in writing almost daily. But a retired professor and a little old lady who goes to mass every morning? While Osama runs loose?

From The Progressive:
Grant Goodman is an 81-year-old emeritus professor of Asian history at the University of Kansas.

He has had an ongoing correspondence by snail mail with a former professor of history at the University of the Philippines, where Goodman had taught on three separate occasions.

In early December, he was shocked when a letter arrived from her that had already been opened.

"The bottom of the envelope had been slashed open and then retaped with green tape," says Goodman. "And it said, 'Opened by Border Protection' in great big letters. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security seal is on it, too."

Goodman believes his rights have been "absolutely" violated, he says. "I just couldn’t believe it and wondered what in the world is going on."

This story was broken by Joel Mathis of the Lawrence Journal-World.

No one at the press office at the Department of Homeland Security was available for comment to The Progressive on January 2, but a spokesman told the Journal-World that "he didn’t know how often the agency opened mail from abroad. And he wouldn’t discuss the criteria for opening letters."

Goodman worries that he "must be under surveillance for one reason or other."

He won’t release the name of the former professor in the Philippines, but says she is in her mid-80s and hardly a security risk. "This is a very devout Catholic woman who goes to 6:00 mass every evening, and I don’t know what they would be interested in her for," he says. "She hasn’t written about anything in years."
[Read more.]

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