Officer Adams was trying to do his job, I’m sure. But it’s hard to accept that protecting our borders requires abandoning the First Amendment. Freedom of the press isn’t an absolute, but if it means anything, it means that, without good reason to believe a crime has been committed, the government, in particular uniformed officers, should stay out of a journalist’s business.

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John Dinges is the co-founder of the investigative journalism center CIPERchile.cl in Santiago, Chile. He has written three books about military dictatorships and human rights in Latin America. The most recent is The Condor Years: How Pinochet and his Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents. He is a professor of journalism at Columbia University.