Snowden filmmaker sues US government

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The filmmaker behind last year’s Oscar-winning documentary starring government leaker Edward Snowden is suing the Obama administration for keeping secret documents about her.

Laura Poitras claims to have been needlessly detained by “Kafkaesque” searches at the U.S. border each and every time she traveled through the country from 2006 to 2012.

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But government agencies have refused to meaningfully respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to release documents about the searches, she claims, which only ended after they were featured in a news article and became the subject of a petition protesting her treatment.

“I’m filing this lawsuit because the government uses the U.S. border to bypass the rule of law,” Poitras said in a statement. “This simply should not be tolerated in a democracy.

“We have a right to know how this system works and why we are targeted.”

Poitras now lives in Berlin, as part of a growing community of technology-focused activists.  

Earlier this year, she won the Academy Award for her documentary about Snowden and other government whistleblowers, called “Citizenfour.” 

As part of the reporting team to break news of the Snowden document, she also received the Pulitzer Prize last year and has been closely tied to the fate of the former government leaker. 

She has a history of movies and journalism criticizing U.S. policies, which she claimed led to her harassment.

During the six years she was repeatedly questioned at the U.S. border, she claimed that officials falsely accused her of having a criminal record, being on the government’s No Fly List and showing up on another threat database. Her camera, laptop, notebooks and other data were searched and copied, she claimed.

Poitras is being represented in the suit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which is targeting the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.