“Most of the reports I have written on people have been ok but a few have been bad. A few people ...,” he paused remembering those cases, “Let's just say they didn't go home.”
Officer T then asked me about every name that was associated with my papers asking me the ages, locations, and education levels of each in addition to whether any of them had ever been in the US or wanted to come to the US. The languages I speak eventually came up in the interview.
“Would you ever consider doing this?” he said, meaning working for Homeland Security.
“Never.” I said confidently.
“Not even if they paid you $80,000 a year.”
“They could never pay me enough to work for them.”
“You don't really like the government do you?”
“Can you tell?” After I said this an awkward silence fell in the room. “How much longer is this gonna take and where am I gonna sleep in here?”
“How long does it take to fast forward through each of those tapes?”
“Probably about 5 minutes.”
“You said there was 15 so times that by 15 minutes. I'll be back.” He stood up and left the office in the direction that he left before.
He returned in 5 minutes with a grim face. “I got some bad news for you. I know I told you that we were going to review the footage here but my supervisor is not having it. I'm sorry. He really thinks there is more to this.”
I looked at him with the attempt to express how angry I was without making sound.
“I know your pissed,” he said in consolation. “If you want to punch a hole in the wall I won't say anything.”
“Putting a hole in the wall won't help me keep my tapes. I know I should probably call a lawyer but I want to ask you that if I start making noise about wanting a lawyer will it help me keep the tapes?”
“You don't want to do that. Your case is not closed. Like I said before, your whole case can be flipped against you, easily. You might never get them back.” That statement chilled me to the bone.
“Well you may just be saying that to shut me up but it seems like your giving me sincere advice.”
“I am,” he said.
Officer T opened his desk drawer to find a plastic seizure bag with a zip top and various lines and numbers.
“This is a seizure bag. Most things that are put in these are destroyed but I'm writing here that these are being held for review. Okay?” He put the tapes into the bag and made me sign a chain of custody receipt releasing the tapes to him.
“These will stay in your hands?”
“No, but whenever the custody changes you should be notified at the number you leave on the form”
Officer T separated the receipt from it's white page and gave me the yellow carbon copy page.
I was released along with both of my passports at 10:30 pm.