Between July 2006 and April 2012, Poitras was "subjected to 'Secondary Security Screening Selection," detained and questioned at the United States border on every international flight she took."
When traveling from the U.S., when she was outside the U.S. traveling internationally, and even when she was traveling within the U.S., Poitras was "occasionally subjected to secondary security screening." More than 50 times she was given this designation, which allowed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents to subject her to extra scrutiny.
The stops were intended to intimidate her into possibly confessing that she knew U.S. soldiers would be ambushed. However, as Poitras insists, she has no footage of this attack and there is nothing to this narrative.
At no point, according to Poitras, did the Army ever ask her to come in and provide information for an investigation. Instead, it appears the government chose to prey on her when she would be most vulnerable to interrogation.
Routine stops by airport security came to an abrupt halt in 2012 without any explanation from authorities. It was not long after her treatment was publicized by news media.
AP did not publish any of the documents the outlet examined so it is difficult to assess whether this is the only important detail in the documents released.
The release of documents barely settles the matter. The FBI still refuses to provide relevant records to Poitras, and a federal judge in Washington recently concluded the agency did not appropriately justify withholding documents.
Poitras has no idea if the investigation into her is still open. She does not know why it was ended, if it ended. She has no idea why it would remain open, if it is still open. And with President Donald Trump granting the military greater discretion for operations, there is a very real possibility that routine stops could target her work as a journalist once again.
When Poitras filed the lawsuit in 2015, she indicated she was "filing this lawsuit because the government uses the U.S. border to bypass the rule of law." It was filed in solidarity with "countless other less high-profile people who have also been subjected to years of Kafkaesque harassment at the borders. We have a right to know how this system works and why we are targeted."
Poitras won an Academy Award for her work on "Citizenfour," which documented NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's decision to release documents revealing mass surveillance programs that infringed upon the privacy of Americans and citizens all over the world.
Her most recent project, "Risk," captures the life of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. It will screen in select theaters this summer and later air on Showtime.
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