Irish and British Tourists Sent Home over “Threatening” Tweet

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Emily Bunting and Leigh Van Buren (photo: Facebook)
For tourists Leigh Van Bryan and Emily Bunting, their trip to the U.S. never got past the airport in Los Angeles. That’s because security officials detained the couple after some tweets from Van Bryan alarmed the Department of Homeland Security.
In one posting on Twitter, the 26-year-old Irish bar manager wrote about his plans while on holiday to “destroy America”—destroy meaning party in British slang. But U.S. officials didn’t get the joke.
Nor did they like another post, which was lifted from the television show Family Guy, that read: “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p****** people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!”
Locked up separately overnight in immigration prison, the pair did not have a pleasant vacation. Van Bryan later told The Daily Mail, “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.”
Van Bryan and Bunting spent 12 hours being detained and questioned at LAX before officials told them they could not stay in the country. The two were then put on a plane back home.
Although the incident had its element of humor, it did demonstrate how deeply the U.S. government spies on the communications of visitors to the United States.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
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