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Monday, January 30, 2012

Scared yet: Brits detained by DHS, then deported over tweets, DHS knew who, they knew where…

This is alarming, not only are they scouring communications channels (social media, email, phone, what else?) but they know who you are and where you are.

I’m not a fan of Obama, and have communicated it near and far, I’ll bet he (his operatives) knows that. He probably knows where I live, where I work, my financial and medical info, and God knows what else, after all, they have the resources of the federal government…and I’m paying for them to spy on me.

'I'm going to destroy America and dig up Marilyn Monroe': British pair arrested in U.S. on terror charges over Twitter jokes

By Richard Hartley-parkinson,  2:38 PM on 30th January 2012

Two British tourists were barred from entering America after joking on Twitter that they were going to 'destroy America' and 'dig up Marilyn Monroe'.

Leigh Van Bryan, 26, was handcuffed and kept under armed guard in a cell with Mexican drug dealers for 12 hours after landing in Los Angeles with pal Emily Bunting.

The Department of Homeland Security flagged him as a potential threat when he posted an excited tweet to his pals about his forthcoming trip to Hollywood which read: 'Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America'.

Leigh Van Bryan was due to go to Los Angeles with his friend Emily Banting but was stopped when he arrived in the U.S. over tweets he had sent

Leigh Van Bryan was due to go to Los Angeles with his friend Emily Banting but was stopped when he arrived in the U.S. over tweets he had sent

Offending tweet: Mr Bryan told security officials that 'destroy' is slang for party in the UK, but that was not enough to convince them

Offending tweet: Mr Bryan told security officials that 'destroy' is slang for party in the UK, but that was not enough to convince them

After making their way through passport control at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) last Monday afternoon the pair were detained by armed guards.

Despite telling officials the term 'destroy' was British slang for 'party', they were held on suspicion of planning to 'commit crimes' and had their passports confiscated.


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Leigh was also quizzed about another tweet which quoted hit US comedy Family Guy which read: '3 weeks today, we're totally in LA p****** people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!

THE WORDS THAT COULD LAND YOU IN HOT WATER

The Department of Homeland Security was recently criticised over false accounts it set up on Twitter.

These are then used to scan networks for 'sensitive' words and then for tracking the people who use them.

Online privacy group, the Electronic Privacy Information Centre requested information on the DHS's scans, which it says the agency announced in February last year.

The group claims that a request under the Freedom of Information Act to access the documentation has gone unanswered.

The words deemed as being sensitive by the DHS include:

  • Illegal immigrant
  • Outbreak
  • Drill
  • Strain
  • Virus
  • Recovery
  • Deaths
  • Collapse
  • Human to animal
  • Trojan

Federal agents even searched his suitcase looking for spades and shovels, claiming Emily was planning to act as Leigh's 'look out' while he raided Marilyn's tomb.

Bar manager Leigh, from Coventry, and Emily, 24, from Birmingham, were then quizzed for five hours at LAX before they were handcuffed and put into a van with illegal immigrants and locked up overnight.

They spent 12 hours in separate holding cells before being driven back to the airport where they were put on a plane home via Paris.

Leigh, an Irish national, and Emily arrived at Birmingham Airport last Wednesday afternoon.

Emily said: 'The officials told us we were not allowed in to the country because of Leigh's tweet. They wanted to know what we were going to do.

'They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get trashed and party.

'I almost burst out laughing when they asked me if I was going to be Leigh's lookout while he dug up Marilyn Monroe.

'I couldn't believe it because it was a quote from the comedy Family Guy which is an American show.

As a result of this message, the pair's luggage was searched for spades

As a result of this message, the pair's luggage was searched for spades

'It got even more ridiculous because the officials searched our suitcases and said they were looking for spades and shovels. They did a full body search on me too.

'We just wanted to have a good time on holiday. That was all Leigh meant in his tweet. He would not hurt anyone.'

Leigh posted the tweet on January 16 before the pair flew to LA last Monday.

Leigh said: 'It's just so ridiculous it's almost funny but at the time it was really scary. The Homeland Security agents were treating me like some kind of terrorist.

Paperwork handed to Mr Van Bryan confirms that he was questioned by the Department for Homeland Security before entry to the U.S. was denied

Paperwork handed to Mr Van Bryan confirms that he was questioned by the Department for Homeland Security before entry to the U.S. was denied

'I kept saying to them they had got the wrong meaning from my tweet but they just told me "you've really f***** up with that tweet boy".

'When I was in the van I was handcuffed and put in a cage. I had a panic attack but the worse was yet to come.

'When we arrived at the prison I was shoved in a cell on my own but after an hour two huge Mexican men covered in tattoos came in and started asking me who I was.

'They told me they'd been arrested for taking cocaine over the border.

'When the food arrived on the tray they took it all and just left me with a carton of apple juice.'

After 12 hours in custody they returned to the airport where they were handed documents which stated they had been refused entry to the US.

Emily's charge sheet stated: 'It is believed that you are travelling with Leigh-Van Bryan who possibly has the intentions of coming to the United States to commit crimes.'

Leigh's charge sheet, alongside a police mug shot and finger print, added: 'He had posted on his Tweeter website account that he was coming to the United States to dig up the grave of Marilyn Monroe.

'Also on his tweeter account Mr Bryan posted that he was coming to destroy America.'

Leigh and Emily have now been told they must apply for visas from the US Embassy in London before flying to the US again.

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