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Scott Ritter Ponders on ‘Real Reason’ Behind US Move to Stop Him From Traveling to Russia

On June 3, the former Marine Corps intelligence officer and Sputnik contributor was removed by US Customs and Border Protection officers from a plane bound for Russia, where he was to attend the 2024 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
The US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) does not have the authority to seize passports without probable cause, former Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter told Sputnik, commenting on Monday's incident.
Ritter recalled that as he prepared to board the plane, he was pulled out of line by three armed CBP officers who took control of his passport. He said that when he asked them "on what authority," they cited orders from the US Department of State.

"They provided no warrant, no documentation, nor did they provide a receipt for my passport. They provided no explanation of what they were doing. They just did it," the Sputnik contributor pointed out.

Scott Ritter - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.06.2024
US State Department Forces Scott Ritter Off Plane to Russia, Confiscates His Passport
Ritter stressed that his constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment were violated because the document requires CBP officers to provide a warrant or some other form of authority upon which to conduct the seizure of his passport.
"Under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution and others, I'm free to travel. The US government cannot restrict my travel without specific justification, none of which was articulated to me and none of which I believe exists. So it's a violation of my Fifth Amendment," the former Marine Corps intelligence officer added.
He suggested that "the real reason" behind all this "appears to be to prevent" him from participating in the SPIEF 2024 and to prevent the work he planned to do as a journalist with his documentary film crew. According to him, he was planning to make a documentary about "the reality of Russia".

"This is my First Amendment right under freedom of speech and a free press. And this right was likewise violated by the US government, by the Biden administration," Ritter noted.

The Sputnik contributor recounted that he had traveled to Russia "two times in the last year using this same passport," and that on each time, the US government was notified in advance of his intent to travel and of his itinerary.
In an apparent reference to his planned trip to Russia to attend SPIEF 2024, Ritter said he was "not off on a secret mission" and that the US government "knew full well" what he was up to.

"And this is why I believe they acted in the way they did. This has a chilling effect, not just on me and the work I was doing, but on all Americans who choose to speak out against the policies of the United States that they disagree with and to travel abroad at the same time that they are criticizing the US government. And what the US government is saying is that we can control your movement. We can control your life. We can punish you for what you've been saying that we disagree with," the former Marine Corps intelligence officer emphasized.

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