Bruce Bawer, an American who lives in Norway with his domestic partner, adds to the litany of European complaints about the US customs service:
Every one of my closest friends here in Oslo has had at least one unpleasant experience at US passport control. One of them, a musician who has twice won the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammys and who is an entirely civilized and presentable person, was once asked by an immigration officer: ”What drugs are you taking? When was the last time you were in prison?” I’ve lost track of the number of Europeans whose most disagreeable memories of the US are of their treatment by these people. I spend a lot of time defending America from unfair criticism by Europeans, but this situation is indefensible.
I’ve lost track too. High-handed, insulting behavior by U.S. customs officials has enraged thousands, if not millions, of law-abiding Europeans in the past few years (not to mention the non-Europeans). The experience fills the visitor with impotent rage, and permanently stains their image of the U.S. I think the problem is this: (1) poorly-educated, provincial U.S. customs officials guards unable to tell who might be a real threat and unable (or unwilling) to grasp how their behavior will strike foreign visitors; plus (2) a sense of danger and enhanced authority coming from the fact that they’ve probably been told hundreds of times that they’re the "front line of defense" against foreign terrorists.