Just So You Don't Think the TSA Are the Only Officious Annoyances in Airports…


…be reminded of this story from last week of a prominent blogger/reporter on foreign policy issues, Michael Yon, getting some good ol' fashioned American police state love from Customs and Border Protection. Via

Yon was returning to the United States from Hong Kong to visit family when CBP officials stopped him during a routine security checkpoint.  "Officials asked me what was in my bag—nothing wrong with this question," Yon said in an interview with  "I told them it was normal stuff, clothes and toothbrushes."

At this point the Customs officials escorted Yon to a designated screening area where they examined the contents of his bag.  "Then they asked me how much money I make," Yon said.  Yon suggested to the Customs officials that the question was inappropriate and unrelated to transportation security.  The award-winning blogger noted another CBP officer approached Yon: "he asked who do I work for."  "I did not answer the question which clearly was upsetting to the [CBP] officers."

Yon was escorted to a room elsewhere in the airport where he said he remained silent during much of the questioning.   According to Yon, "they handcuffed me for failing to cooperate.  They said I was impeding their ability to do their job."

Yon described the CBP officials as noticeably frustrated by his refusal to answer their questions: "I always assume everything is being recorded.  I was trying to be professional."

Yon continued, "They said I wasn't under arrest, but I'm handcuffed.  In any other country, that qualifies as an arrest."

Ultimately Port Authority police released Yon…

Earlier air travel security aggravations via TSA blogged below.

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  1. This story is like so last week . . .

  2. sorry about this, testing something

    1. Did it work?

      Inquiring minds want to know

      1. Obviously not, his capitalization and punctuation are faulty.

  3. I kinda think it qualifies as either arrest or kidnapping, unless done between consenting adults…

  4. Yon suggested to the Customs officials that the question was inappropriate and unrelated to transportation security.

  5. I blame robc.

  6. I just got back from a trip overseas and noticed something that I found interesting/upsetting. Of all the customs officers I dealt with, the ones in my home country, the US, are always the rudest ones to me. No, “welcome home” or anything like that, just a bunch of invasive questions like the one Michael Yon got. Heck, even the customs officer in Paris was friendlier.

    Note to US customs officers, when your countrymen think you’re ruder than your Parisian equivalents, you’re doing something wrong.

    1. “Heck, even the customs officer in Paris was friendlier.”
      If that isn’t evidence of the end of the world, nothing is!!!

      1. My favorite customs story: I was visiting Ireland and the officer asked “Purpose of visit?” so I answered “Visiting my in-laws.” so he said “Well, I’ll check off ‘Pleasure’ anyway.”

        1. A visit to in-laws in Ireland must have involved lots of booze.

        2. Never mind the booze. A visit from a son-in-law named Abdul is a hell of a lot more interesting.

  7. Ah, Customs. When you come back from Spain they target you to see if you brought back any jamon and confiscate it (to eat later, obviously). Bastards.

    1. Yeah, when I came back from Holland year before last, they wanted to confiscate the last of my cookies. I had a few left from my flight; they were damn tasty, KLM takes care of you.

      I said “Oh, no need,” and ate them.

      1. I said “Oh, no need,” and ate them.

        I’m surprised they didn’t interpret that as disrespecting their authoritah and gave you shit about it.

      2. I’ve never heard about “cookies”. The only restrictitions that I know about are fresh produce and cured meats.

        I’ve brought dozens of kilos of chocolate into the US from Europe.

        1. I’ve brought dozens of kilos of chocolate into the US from Europe.

          So did Yves Saint Laurent.

          GET IT?! Ha! I kill me.

      3. Well, there were only like three or four left.

        Thank God they didn’t find the big tub of candy that our host gave us.

  8. I imagine that soon our resident statists will be along to explain to us why we should be grateful for such treatment. It will be mildly interesting to see what arguments they use.

  9. You’re not under arrest, you just need to have handcuffs on you and you can not leave this room. Oh and if you do try to leave we’ll use force to stop you and you may die.

  10. Never forget, until you clear customs — you ain’t in the US.

  11. The “Border Bullies” linked in the post above is truly astounding.

    These pieces of shit aren’t even Barney Fife’s. They’re sub-intelligent goons with badges and ready to visit any kind of indignity upon you that they think they can get away with.

  12. But I thought El Al-style behavioral screening of people, often accomplished by asking them seemingly pointless questions, was what conservatives like Yon wanted now? I’m confused.

    1. If our customs agents were trained like El Al screeners and we actually had a policy like that, it would be a different story.

    2. Customs is not a part of airport security. Customs, Immigration, Airport Security — three seperate and independent functions with three seperate missions.

  13. At least we are no longer hassled in airports by Krishnas and Larouchians.

    1. I’d take either or both over TSA or CBP.

  14. You sneaky little batards aren’t getting doodly shit from me, except maybe my name, rank, and Social Security number: Wood, Hollis P., Lumberjack, Social Security 106-43-2185

  15. Sounds like the kind of question Chad would ask, if he were a TSA goon.

  16. They got my chorizo bought at the duty-free shop in Seville. The DUTY-FREE shop in the AIRPORT. You know, the stuff meant to be purchsed before you board the plane. Next they’ll confiscate the stuff you bought from the cart ON the plane. Maybe they already do.
    Now, I bring anything I want, concealed in the checked baggage. They never find it. TSA tought me not to be honest about these things.

    1. You can’t bring fruits, vegatables, or processed meats into the US. It doesn’t matter where you bought them.

      1. They sell Cuban cigars in the duty-free shop at the Peace Bridge in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

        But if Customs finds them and you’re a US citizen or resident alien they’ll confiscate them and you may find yourself facing additional penalties. They actually have a fairly prominent sign telling you that they are only for sale to non-residents of the US.

        But then technically I’m a dangerous criminal because I once lit up a Havana in someones’s living room in Toronto. Don’t turn me in, OK.

        1. My sister, being a complete dumbass, declared the Cubans she had bought for my dad when coming through Customs.

          1. I’m told that there’s actually a pretty extensive business in Canada rebanding and repackaging Cubans to look like Domican or Nicuraguan brands for easie of smuggling.

            But I have also heard that the quality of Cubans has sunk so low that they no longer lead in taste like they used to.

            Don’t know, it’s been thiry years since I had a Cuban cigar.

        2. I would hate to find out what they would do to me over the Persian saffron I bought in Egypt.

    2. Next they’ll confiscate the stuff you bought from the cart ON the plane.

      That’s what they wanted to do to me when I hit customs – confiscate my box of cookies that I got on the plane.

      I ate them instead. Right there, in line.

  17. I wonder if TSA can ask, “do you spitz or do you swallows?”
    “Are those falsies or are they udderly real?”
    “Is that a salami in your crotch, or do you like me?”
    “Do you enjoy sex with gubermint employees in public restrooms, even if they are not a senator?”

  18. I’ve heard a CBP officer say that they see their mission as keeping as many people out of the US as possible. America will only be safe when no one comes here, apparently.

    I don’t think they realize they would be out of a job?

    Oh, wait, they’re unionized. My bad.

  19. Oh, and they hate it when people confuse them with TSA.

    1. Thanks for the tip, NeonCat. I’ll have to put it to good use next time I travel internationally.

    2. Oh, and they hate it when people confuse them with TSA.


  20. The only thing these motherfuckers are doing is vying to see who will be first up against the wall…

    1. With you around, won’t it be Roland?

      1. Well…second then…

  21. Hmmmmm,

    Whatever happened to “Land of the free and home of the brave”???

  22. Michael Yon is one of the cheerleaders for this style of big brotherism. I am finding it hard to shed a tear over this story. Maybe he’ll learn something from this incident.

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