Homeland Security has been claiming that it has the authority to inspect private safety deposit boxes without warrants.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.

Does this make you feel safer, or more free? Since 2011 Homeland Security has been claiming that it has the authority to inspect private safety deposit boxes without warrants.


Every July, to celebrate the anniversary of the start of Behind the Black in 2010, I hold a month-long fund-raising campaign to make it possible for me to continue my work here for another year.

This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.

This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.

Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

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  • Pzatchok

    Is there a link?

  • The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    I just made you a terrorist Robert… If that’s not enough…

    When in the course of human events…

  • jwing

    The founding fathers knew the historical democracy lasted about 200 years.

    They were very smart men…enough said.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Yes, we have no bananas – but apparently, we’re livng in a Banana Republic now. Unbelievable – and this was never announced publicly – TG Investment Watch discovered the letters to the banks or we might not even know about this. How is it they claim the authority to inspect, photograph, or even SEIZE your property – and they’re not even required to inform you? Seems the DHS has been transformed from an agency designed to protect us into one used to spy on anyone who holds certain views that don’t “conform”. Can anyone make the case this regime is not tyrannical ??

  • We should all be aware that it is very unclear whether the DHS has actually been able to do any of these warrantless searches. Because any evidence obtained during these searches would be useless in court, as any good lawyer could easily get it thrown out, I suspect the DHS has probably decided not to do these searches. They are only claiming they have the right.

    Moreover, even if the DHS had wanted to do such a search, I doubt that any bank has cooperated with them. If they did, the bank would be exposing itself to a great deal of liability should anything end up missing from a safe deposit box.

    The real point of this story is to note the increasing willingness of government officials to ignore the Constitution and the rights of American citizens. If these fascist attitudes are not stamped out soon, they can only lead to one result: The government will decide that it has the right to use force to get what it wants, and will do so, making the refusal of both the courts or banks to cooperate totally irrelevant.

  • jwing

    And as succeeding generations are taught in school that our Constitution is a pliable “living, breathing document”, they will never know what they don’t know about its original intent. I believe that is their intent.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Good point, Bob – maybe I sounded a bit too alarmist, but it really frightens me that our Gov’t would even THINK of doing such things. You may be right that none of this has happened – yet. But I have this very uneasy feeling that they wouldn’t hesitate to use such power if they thought they could get away with it. Jwing, you also may be on to something here – no one could get away with telling us they wanted to throw out the Constitution, but by enacting small steps, one at a time, they could ultimately achieve that goal. It’s the old frog in boiling water vs. very slowly turning up the heat so the frog doesn’t realize what’s happening to it…

  • Pzatchok

    Are we sure there isn’t some new law attached to this that stops the banks from informing the box holders?
    Or from even stating things like this publicly?

    Corporations with strong federal ties tend to do exactly what the feds tell them to do. Otherwise they could be targeted for other troubles and problems. Let along charged with something against the law.

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