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Active Duty American Citizen Army Soldier, Born in Iran, Has Phone Seized by CBP

February 04, 2020 (1 min read)

Joseph Cox, VICE / MOTHERBOARD, Jan. 31, 2020

"Earlier this month Customs and Border Protection seized the iPhone of an active duty American soldier as they were transferring through a U.S. airport as part of their directed orders. After questioning, the CBP sent the iPhone to a lab for forensic analysis, according to the service member and a CBP document obtained by Motherboard. The soldier, an American citizen born in Iran, told Motherboard they believe the questioning and seizure was due to their Iranian heritage.

The news comes amid increased U.S. and Iran tensions. A leaked CBP memo published by CNN Thursday shows the agency directed border officers to question travelers of Iranian descent, including American citizens, in the aftermath of the Trump administration's killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

"I feel like my story needs to get out in case it could help someone else in the future," the soldier told Motherboard. Motherboard granted the soldier anonymity because they feared repercussions from speaking out as an active duty soldier.

The soldier provided Motherboard with a copy of the detention notice and custody receipt for detained property from CBP. It said CBP seized an iPhone on January 25th. The soldier also provided Motherboard with their military identification, their travel itinerary, an email CBP sent to them about the phone seizure, and other documents."