Homeland security

A Trip Is Ruined, but Marilyn Monroe Is Safe

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BBC News reports that two British tourists were stopped at Los Angeles International Airport last week and barred from visiting the U.S. because one of them joked on Twitter that he planned to "destroy America" (meaning have a good time) and dig up Marilyn Monroe's remains (a Family Guy reference). Customs and Border Patrol agents questioned Leigh Van Bryan, a 26-year-old bar manager from Coventry, and his 24-year-old friend, Emily Bunting, for five hours, then kept them in cells for 12 more hours before sending them back to the U.K. "Mr. Bryan confirmed that he had posted on his Tweeter website account that he was coming to the United States to dig up the grave of Marilyn Monroe," the CBP officers reported. "Also on his tweeter account Mr. Bryan posted he was coming to destroy America." Here are the messages that ruined Bryan and Bunting's trip:

January 3: "3 weeks today, we're totally in LA p****** people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!"

January 16: "@MelissaxWalton free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?"

Bryan told The Sun CBP officers took the threat to the long-dead movie star seriously, looking for shovels in his luggage. "The Homeland Security agents were treating me like some kind of terrorist," he said. "I kept saying they had got the wrong meaning from my tweet, but they just told me, 'You've really fucked up with that tweet, boy.'…It's almost funny now, but at the time it was really scary." In response to the incident, a British travel industry trade group warns tourists that "airport security staff do not have a sense of humour when it comes to potential risk."

[Thanks to Richard Cowan for the tip.]

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  1. They should have just left it at “airport security staff do not have a sense of humour”. Perhaps add “nor the intelligence to recognize a joke”.

    1. Why would they let the recongition of joke spoil their authority?

      1. Spelling fail.

        It’s “authoritah”

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    2. Why the fuck are airport staff monitoring Twitter feeds?

      1. Doesn’t everybody?

    3. You beat me to it Zeb, though I would expand it to “the TSA does not have a sense of humor.”

    4. Perhaps add “nor the intelligence to recognize a joke”.

      But they’re paid to find actual terrorists, not waste time and resources on tourists.

      The level of incompetence displayed by DHS and the TSA in wasting investigative time on these pretty obviously harmless tourists will be remembered should any actual attack occur.

      5 hours of grilling? Have these people never interacted with any actual terrorists? What level of training fails so completely and diverts so much energy to a false alarm?

      Honestly, Congress should investigate exactly what these bozos at DHS are doing. The first 3 minutes of interaction with the kids should have set off alarm bells – that they were wasting their time.

    5. The world does not have to be this way. Get together with sane people who care about the planet and future and vote.

      These are idiots are not security, they are egos creating work where none exists. Pathetic people. Useless.

      Neither of these statements are a threat to national security. “Destroy America!” That’s a joke. It a little late for that. My generation has already done a very through job.

    6. It’s not a matter of them not having humor; nor is it that they perceived an actual threat. This was simply an opportunity for them to flex their authority. In the end, that’s what it’s always about for people like this: exercising power over others.

    7. Security believes that everything is a threat except hijackers slitting the throats of first class passengers. When that happened the pilots of at least one 9-11 aircraft followed the FAA rule general Stategy: “cooperate and take the hijackers where they want to go”

      Americans thrive on going by the book when the book is wrong.

  2. January 3: “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p****** people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!”

    Wait, they’re palming people off? That doesn’t even make sense.

  3. I’m curious: How did the TSA even know about those tweets?

    1. Apparently, some busybody received them and reported them to the TSA.

      1. Ding, Ding, Ding!

      2. If you see something, say something.

        It’s working!

    2. Did not the patriot act allow for the monitoring of all electronic communications ?

    3. The same way they know about your HnR comments?

      1. HnR doesn’t even know about HnR comments. This was posted here yesterday.

    4. “”I’m curious: How did the TSA even know about those tweets?””

      It’s part of the new risk based approach. They need to know what you do in social media to help determine the level of risk. Saying destroy America will certainly get their attention and raise your risk level.

      1. I’m still confused about his alleged plot. How exactly was he going to use the disinterred corpse of Norma Jeane to destroy America? Does it have something to do with zombies?

        1. In police-state-America the authorities never have to explain why they bullied someone.

        2. How exactly was he going to use the disinterred corpse of Norma Jeane to destroy America?

          He was going to use it to resurrect the Kennedys.

        3. It is probably a plan similar to that in Plan 9 From Outer Space.

      2. Hey, fine – but how do they connect a particular Twitter account to an individual person?

        TSA Agent: “What’s your name on Twitter?”

        Fluffy: “I post under the handle ‘yourmotherscuntstinkslikecarpetcleaner’.”

        You know, I think I may go create that account right now just to leave it empty for such occasions. “See, officer? No offensive tweets.”

    5. Yeah that’s my primary question as well.

  4. America land of the free home of the brave, or is it the domain of the paranoid and the humourless ?

  5. Besides showing a lack of any sense of humor, the real concern is how the CBP tracked the tweets to these two particular individuals and were there waiting for them…makes you wonder…

    1. I’m trying to figure out how they can figure out how to examine someone’s twitter account, without actually knowing how to properly say “twitter”.

  6. It’s cute how just 3 weeks ago they were excited about visiting America. Glad to hear CBP disabused them of that notion so promptly.

    Also, the Sun link is SF’d but whoever provided this quote:

    “Also on his tweeter account Mr. Bryan posted he was coming to destroy America.”

    should be fired immediately. Journo, border goon, fired, fired, fired.

    1. It was the border goon. Fucking morons.

  7. To be fair, people who quote Family Guy probably shouldn’t accuse someone else of not having a sense of humor.

    1. Futurama, on the other hand…

  8. This makes me want to open a twitter account just to post “Destroy America” every week…

    1. Don’t make any travel plans that involve airports.

  9. I can only imagine what might happen if someone named Steven Smith tried to enter the country…

  10. They have internet checked your name for years

  11. “airport security staff do not have a sense of humour when it comes to potential risk.”

    1) That’s not entirely true. They love to tickle people.

    2) That’s not entirely true. They just tend to the choleric.

  12. All European tourists and business travelers are notorious for getting drunk and fucking shit up and not tipping. I say we bill them on the way out.

  13. Tweets! Of course!

    ** facepalm **

    I finally understand what is meant by terrorist “chatter”!

    1. I finally understand what is meant by terrorist “chatter”!

      We have a winner!

  14. In fairness to Germans, I, too, have pissed all over a relative’s toilet after opening every bottle of wine they had in the cabinet during a dinner party. Causing havoc and leaving your mark in places you visit feels good.

  15. I read on another source yesterday that this may have been a “punked” setup by friends back in the UK. Friends who probably didn’t have a clue just how successful they would be.

  16. The Variety headline was great: “Brit twits’ quit trip over twitter trap flap.”

  17. we know that every year there are so many traffic accidents and so many people died at last . but some people still make a joke that they will destrory america ,this makes great threat to the public and policeman will not ignore it

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