Michael's Dispatches

Border Bullies


The Department of Homeland Security in Action
04 January 2009

A Thai friend with whom I have traveled in Europe and Asia took time off from her job to meet me in Florida over the holidays.  This was a good time for me, as it was between reporting stints in the war. My friend, Aew, had volunteered to work with me in Afghanistan or Iraq, but I declined because many people around me get shot or blown up.  So we were looking forward to spending some vacation time together.  She comes from a good family; and one that is wealthier than most American families.  She didn’t come here for a job.  Well-educated, she has a master's degree and works as a bank officer in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Aew was excited about the prospect of visiting America for the first time, though she had traveled to many other countries and had the passport stamps to prove it.  She had no problem getting a U.S. visa, and she was paying her own way to fly.

Problems began when she entered the airport in Bangkok.  Aew had a one-way ticket to America, because we would travel back in the direction of the war before she would go home, but we did not know our exact itinerary, so she hadn't bought a round-trip ticket back to Thailand.  Before boarding the flight from Thailand to America, Northwest Airlines required Aew to buy a return ticket for 53,905 Thai bhat, or about $1,200 for a return ticket, else they would not let her board the flight.  Aew paid by her credit card and pushed on.  Understandably, it raises suspicions when a foreign national doesn't have a round-trip ticket in an age of massive illegal immigration -- even if that person is an educated professional with a home and career, and even though Aew has a ten-year visa to the United States.  Nevertheless, Aew paid approximately $1,200 for the return ticket, and so now had a return ticket. 

That is how it began.  She boarded the jet, eventually landed in Japan and then Minneapolis, before the final leg to Orlando.  While thousands of people have canceled trips to Orlando due to the failing economy, Aew was coming with cash to spend in Florida.  We would go to Disney, Kennedy Space Center and many other places; she'd be seeing the sights while I was meeting with military and other people in preparation for my upcoming return to Afghanistan for the long year ahead. 

I first met Aew in Indonesia during a break from the Iraq war.  I had gone to visit the site of the murder of my friend Beata Pawlak, who, along with about two hundred other people, was killed in a terrorist attack on the island of Bali.

After meeting in Indonesia, Aew and I stayed in touch.  We traveled at different times to Singapore, Great Britain, Thailand and Nepal.  Yet when Aew landed in Minneapolis, she was hustled away by an immigration officer.  After approximately 24 hours of exhausting travel, Aew was detained for about 90 minutes without cause, and as a result, she missed her connecting flight to Orlando.  She was brought into a small room where she saw a camera peering down.  The officer conducting the shakedown wore a name tag: "Knapp."  Five times she had traveled to China with zero problems, but Knapp grilled Aew with a long series of questions, rifling through her wallet, handling her credit cards and reading them carefully, questioning her piece by piece.  Her passport, thick with extra pages, showed stamps from countries around the world.  It contained the valid U.S. visa, and stamps and visas from countries she had traveled to, such as Great Britain, Japan, China, Nepal, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brunei, New Zealand and Cambodia.  She had traveled to some of these countries on multiple occasions, always paying her own way.  She never had problems.  Not even in China.  We had toured Parliament together in London, on a private expedition led by Member of Parliament Adam Holloway.  Aew was very interested to see the Royal Family, and was beside herself when I met Lady Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who at that time read this website.  The British, including military officers, had treated her very well and she left with positive memories of Great Britian.

But that was Great Britain.  The American shakedown was just starting.  Her sister, Puk, was sending me SMS messages from Thailand, worried that Aew seemed to have disappeared.  I had bought Puk's daughters, North and Nurse, who are 8 and 9, a "talking globe" so they could track the travels of their Aunt Aew.  The last time I saw North and Nurse, we had taken them to the Chiang Mai zoo, and also to an elephant camp where the elephants paint.  Puk's husband, Bey, is a high-ranking Thai police officer who, as part of his duties, helps organize security for the Thai Royal Family. 

While the U.S. Immigration officer named Knapp rifled through all her belongings, Aew sat quietly.  She was afraid of this man, who eventually pushed a keyboard to Aew and coerced her into giving up the password to her e-mail address.  Officer Knapp read through Aew's e-mails that were addressed to me, and mine to her.  Aew would tell me later that she sat quietly, but “Inside I was crying.”  She had been so excited to finally visit America.  America, the only country ever to coerce her at the border.  This is against everything I know about winning and losing the subtle wars.   This is against everything I love about the United States.  We are not supposed to behave like this.  Aew would tell me later that she thought she would be arrested if she did not give the password.

The Government of the United States was reading the private e-mails of a U.S. citizen (me).  The Department of “Homeland Security” was at work, intimidating visitors with legitimate visas.  They had at least 24 hours to check her out before she landed in the United States.  What kind of security is this?  The Department of Homeland Security was at this moment more like the Department of Intimidation.

Officer Knapp called my phone as I was driving to the Orlando airport.  I was going to be there two hours early to make sure I would be on time, so that she had a warm welcome to my country.  But instead, Knapp was busy detaining Aew in Minneapolis and was on my cell phone asking all types of personal questions that he had no business asking.  Sensing that Aew was in trouble, I answered his questions.  Mr. Knapp was a rude smart aleck.  The call is likely recorded and that recording would bear out my claims.  This officer of the United States government, a grown man, had coerced personal information from a Thai woman who weighs 90 pounds.  I asked Aew later why she gave him the e-mail password, and she answered simply, "I was afraid," and “I thought I would be arrested.”

What could I say to alleviate any of this?  Could I say, "This is the U.S., nothing to be afraid of."?  The world already sees us as senseless bullies.  Aew might have been detained indefinitely; even I was concerned that the Department of Homeland Security might detain Aew for no reason.  Essentially, she had no rights.  They had already coerced her e-mail password out of her head through intimidation.

This does not make me feel safe: Our Homeland Security was focusing on a 40-year-old Thai bank officer while there are real bad guys out there. Thailand and the United States have had good relations for 175 years, and Thailand is one of the few countries in the world that is proud to say they are friends of the United States.  There are no threats to Americans from Thai people -- who, among other relevant things, are mostly not Muslims.  The King of Thailand was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard.  I have never seen the King with a gun; only a camera.  His 2009 New Year’s speech was also a call for peace.  The King and his family helped bring widespread education to Thailand, which created a special problem.  Today there are large numbers of highly educated, successful women looking for highly educated men.  I remember General (ret.) McCaffrey, our former drug Czar, telling me a couple of years ago that the King of Thailand was incredibly important in wiping out opium poppies in Thailand.  The King of Thailand is highly respected by the government of the United States.  He is a very good man. 

During World War II, when the Japanese encouraged the Thai people to fight us, the Thai government actually declared war on the United States and Great Britain.  But the Thai Ambassador in Washington refused to deliver the declaration of war.  The upshot was that the United States refused to declare war on Thailand, and the Thai people formed a resistance against the Japanese.

Thai people refused to fight Americans.  Instead, they attacked the Japanese.  Has our government had problems recently with 90-pound, 40-year-old Thai women?  Do they blow things up?  Aew doesn’t even know how to light a match.  She doesn’t smoke or drink, and is more upright than your average southern Baptist.  She can’t even curse and gets upset if she hears me say a bad word about someone.  “Michael!” she says, “Don’t say that!” 

When I discovered that she had missed her flight, after about 24 hours of travel thus far, I called immigration at Minneapolis and asked to speak with Officer Knapp.  Knapp got on the phone, but this time it was me questioning him.  Knapp told me it was legal to read e-mails.  I asked for his first name, but he was afraid to give his first name, which was rather strange for someone working within the confines of an airport where everyone has been searched for weapons.  Where I work, in a war zone, soldiers give their first and last names and face Taliban and al Qaeda heads up, man to man.  I write about al Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorist groups who kill thousands of people.  My name is Michael Yon.  My first name is Michael.  Mr. Knapp hides behind a badge bullying a woman whose only activities are Yoga, reading, travel, and telling me what is healthy and unhealthy to eat.  Knapp is a face of Homeland Security.  How many other officers at Homeland Security bully 90-pound women, but are afraid to give their own names? 

Knowing that Homeland Security officers are creating animosity and anxiety at our borders does not make me feel safer.  How many truly bad guys slip by while U.S. officers stand in small rooms and pick on little women?

I have just returned from Afghanistan and Iraq on a trip with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and I can assure you that we can do better.  We do not have to violate human rights and insult our closest allies to maintain our security. 

Meanwhile, Aew had missed two flights; standby seats were full on the second flight, and I was considering flying from Florida to Minneapolis to get her myself.  I did not want Aew to have to sleep in the airport overnight.

I had intended to show Aew a bit of my country.  But it's taking a little while for her to get over her discomfort at being in America.  She was treated better in China.  So was I.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gilbert · 12 years ago
    In reference to the comment from 'metoo'

    It's funny how everyone always runs to the child porn card. I agree it's a problem; however there are a few problems with your attempted deflection of the real issue.

    1. Michael said she was coerced into giving he email password. (Server based email is subject to subpoena, barring voluntary disclosure... this is obviously not voluntary i,e, the use of the word coerced.)

    2. Evidence obtained from coerced searches, confessions, and seizures is considered the "fruit of the poisonous tree" invalidating the evidence, investigation, and the whole case.

    . There is little difference between circumventing the constitution and torturing prisoners. No matter what information you obtain, we as American's should not be doing it.

    4. I wonder if you would still be so willing to trade in your freedoms if it was you or your wife, mother, daughter sitting across the table from a "Knapp".

    There are a lot of comments on this article from people representing many different countries, even US citizens who are all having very similar problems coming into America. Hummmm I wonder if all these people are suspect in Child Porn, or is it just that the people who get singled out are the ones who are being profiled as the ones that won't complain and buck the system.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pierpaolo Piccirilli · 12 years ago
    Hi, I am an Italian expat who in the last 10 years has been living and working around the world. I spent almost 5 years in Asia and my base was in Thailand.
    Seeing first hand how things really work outside of the West has turned my "force-fed" PC beliefs on their heads.
    You want to see and experience in real life the racism, classism and xenophobia the evil West is supposed to be the home of? Just set foot outside of the West.
    Mike, I speak Thai and I know Thai immigration laws pretty well. Do we want to make a comparison?
    I am married to a Thai and she got Permanent Residency (and 1.5 years later citizenship) here in Italy for the simple obvious fact she is is married to an Italian citizen. International treaties and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights say that it's a basic human right to be allowed to live with one's spouse and children.
    In Thailand the best I can get is 90 day NON-IMMIGRANT "O" Visas which are not conducive to eventual Permanent Residency and/or citizenship.
    By law (and under very harsh conditions) one can get PR but ONLY UP TO 100 PRs can be "handed out" per year per nationality (and usually this ludicrously low limit is not even reached)!! Getting citizenship is more difficult and PR is a pre-requisite anyway so the final numbers are even lower...

    Moreover, here in the West my wife can obviously work any job, buy land and houses, is protected against any type of discrimination by the laws, police force and judicial system etc while in Thailand I can work only very few job types (for example I am a nurse and this job falls within the countless ones which are restricted to foreigners), I cannot buy land or houses and am limited to condominium apartments but only in certain designated areas and provided the condo I am buying into has not reached a 50% max "foreign quota"! Moreover the foreigners always pay more (e.g. in the national parks foreigners pay several times more than Thais) and is very often the "guilty part" before the police and judicial system in any kind dispute against a local and irregardless of who is actually at fault.
    And not even try to think to physically defend yourself or in any way "get physical" against a local who is threatening or abusing you, bystanders and passersby would jump in in a flesh to beat you senseless without any type of interest in what's actually happening and who was attacking who, all they see is a Thai against a foreigner.
    White Westerners are called "farangs" in Thailand, they have "slangish" derogatory words for any other race and most of them are not ashamed nor restrained in any way by the laws or simply the education to openly use them.
    I could go on much longer but I think you have got the gist of it... And to be honest with the kind of job you do I think you already know this all too well...
    Only thing I would like to add is that these kind of things aren't in any way peculiar to Thailand, in various shades of grey they are going on everywhere outside of the West.
    Sorry for the rant but my 10 year experience have wore off all of the sympathy and the " rd worldism" which was inculcated in me and force-fed to me by our stupid, ignorant, hypocritical, opportunistic and downright dangerous PC media and politicians...

    Time to wake up and smell the somtam folks, RECIPROCATION should be the name of the game. The only way to make this (and many other types of) crap stop and the only way they understand.

    P.S. That said, and without knowing all of the facts and circumstances, that guy does seem a prick on a power trip.
    Just hope to never get an officer like that on you in places like Thailand...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Delphine · 12 years ago
    You mention it several times but no postings.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    julian · 12 years ago
    Just stumbled across this excellent blog and I have only one thing to offer here. Please apologize to your friend on behalf of all of us who have always enjoyed the warmth and friendship of the Thai people, extend our heartfelt best wishes, and apologize for her ill treatment. Also, tell her that IF she comes here again, just tell the people "No Ingles!" or 'I left my passport in my other burkha" and they will courteously escort her through the line, carry her luggage, gently hold any explosive items she may bring and, if she so desires, they will kiss her arse politely as they wave her to a table in the airport restaurant. At least, that seems to be the way they treat people who come here illegally, or people who hate America.
    But THIS is the way we treat our friends.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joseph OGERSHOK · 12 years ago
    MeTOO said: If ya don't like getting questioned by Customs, don't travel!!!! The reason the Customs officer did what he did is because he was looking for child porn on the laptop/camera. Additional questioning can occur when one travels to "certain countries" that are rampant with child porn. Once again, Customs getting a bad rap trying to protect citizens of America!!!!!

    You missed the whole point of the post about US v. Boucher; it does not matter the reason, they can not compel you or I to give up your password on the computer. There is a big difference between due diligence and abuse of power. The same folks who you find exibiting these behaviors have issues with power and control. Stating that this is the expectation of travel is downright insensative at best and arrogant at the extreme.

    I am a 54 year old grandfather, a former Special Forces medic, with a US Gov't ID card and a US passport but still get grabbed from time to time as I travel back and forth through Europe and other Middle Eastern countries. My parents are of Slovack and Russian ancestry but I meet none of the current threat profiles. I do not get hassled by TSA but they do pull me when I have two tickets for the same flight and someone else buys my ticket. That, I can understand but not threatening "little people." You can tell a lot about people by who they choose to bully.

    How do I know so much about power and control? I have counseled sex offenders and abusers in prisons as a group facilitator and our Mr. Knapp meets some of those criteria. The Maryand State Police have a very good screen to weed out this type of individual from getting into a position that would enable them to use their positions to the detriment of the average citizen. Mr. KNAPP needs to be held accountable for his behavior not the victim of his abuse.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    BJ · 12 years ago
    I don't condone the behavior and I've seen my share of TSA a=holes. (LAX is the worse), but she had a lot of flags.

    Attractive young lady. Why? Because women from Asian countries are unfortunately assumed to be coming to work as PRO's. Sad but true. Seen it many times. In many countries. I work in Singapore currently and every time I fly back from Bangkok while standing in the immigration line they will send single women over to the side counters to do some checking.The return ticket thing will cause everyone problems. I've been questioned and I'm career military with an Official passport.

    She's a bank officer in Thailand? What's the monthly wage for that? About 20,000 baht? Seems she can fly a lot to beau coup countries on that or is it the family or you or other men paying? Sorry, but I'm just stating what these guys think.

    My advice is this: Should have sent her a letter on sponsorship, your statement on helping her out and contact. I've done it for my Thai girl as well and when they have questions they can call. She went to Pusan to meet me and they detained her over an hour and a half. Finally had to have the outside people call into the immigration side and some official walked out and asked to see my ID, then they asked if I knew her. It happens. Now days don't make short connections between flights. You really expected her to clear customs/immigration and go from the International Terminal to domestic in less than 90 minutes? Good luck on that.

    I truly hate travel to the US due to all the precautions but it is what it is. The crappy jobs of security etc no one wants and they aren't the highest paying.

    A little thought prior to her travel would have made for a better flight and maybe less hassle.

    My girl still flies to meet up regardless of the hassles. She doesn't complain. Of course she isn't from a "well off" Thai family, just a simple Isaan family. Maybe that's part of the main complaint.??

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Drew Baker · 12 years ago
    You hit the nail on the head with this one. I am an Australian, who's country has a proud history of supporting America in every military endeavor it has every undertaken. And every time I enter the USA on the Visa Wavier Program I am fearful for my future. I can never be certain whether I will be granted entry or end up in a small cell in Cuba (I'm sure that's a gross exaggeration, but I can't be certain). Regardless of the reasons people here give to justify the over zealous security, the fact remains that it is doing more harm than good. How many real threats has the DHS caught compared to how many it has provoked? The number is impossible to tell, but not impossible to imagine.

    There is reason America has the reputation it does abroad, and Mr. Knapp personifies that reason. I believe Gen. Petraeus was the biggest supporter of America maintaining the "moral high ground" and it's about time America learns from Iraq's experience.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lifeofthemind · 12 years ago
    I have had the dubious pleasure of working for both TSA and Customs and Border Protection. There is a lot of bad advice and rumor getting put out here. First the airline can be fined if the transport someone who is deportable into the United States, therefore they have a financial interest in ensuring that you have passage out booked. The comments that the officer was checking the laptop for evidence of child pornography or of a mail order bride or prostitution connection are also true. Also if she had traveled to states that have some terrorist connection that could be a flag. Extensive travel could mean that someone is a courier for drugs or money. Having someone sit for a while can reveal if they are carrying drugs internally, don't ask.

    Now there was some good advice given about traveling with a letter of introduction, evidence of your professional status etc. She probably could have asked for someone to help her translate, although that may have further delayed her. They should have been able to check her fingerprint and passport reasonably quickly. It is true that until her identity, citizenship and intentions were validated she did not have the rights regarding the 4th Amendment that any person has once in the United States.

    Finally there is the question of Mr Knapp. The doctrines and training in the various Homeland Security agencies aren't that bad but the staff is often deplorable. The TSA is absolutely the worst and the current system of 45,000 government employees making from $ 0,000 to $75,000 a year without education discipline or accountability should be replaced. Unfortunately given the political realities I am afraid that their jobs are secure. CBP should be a more professional service and their officers, who are real gun carrying Law Enforcement Officers with a 20 year retirement, can make $100,000 or more a year. Under the circumstances he should have been able to size up what type of person he was dealing with and conduct a thorough inspection, there is no reason to cut corners, without appearing rude. If he acted improperly then you should follow up with appointed and elected officials.

    In conclusion there is good reason to do thorough inspections at the border but for the money it is also important to do so in a manner that is not needlessly offensive. A good officer can offer a smile and a cup of water and get better results.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    johnF · 12 years ago
    I take exception to the following quote, "It is true that until her identity, citizenship and intentions were validated she did not have the rights regarding the 4th Amendment that any person has once in the United States. "

    The Constitution of the United States is not a terrain based document. The fourth amendment is a restriction upon the federal government against infringement of a natural right. Said natural right exists independantly of the Constitution. Law enforcement officers who violate natural rights violate their oaths of office and the constitution regardless of where they are located.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    nani kemp · 12 years ago
    So sorry that Aew started her American adventure with that idiot, Knapp. America is the greatest country in the world, but we definitely have our bad apples. There must be a lot of idiots in Minnesota, since they elected a professional wrestler to govern them, & now they have a comedian, Al Franken, representing them in Congress. The next four years are going to be hilarious with a "leader" who has unscrupulous ties & a media that can't get enough of him.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    A.G. Pym · 12 years ago
    I found it disheartening that the flyertalk thread (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-safety-security/90646 -border-bullies.html) that began with an (almost unattributed), incomplete copy of Michaels post here immediately veered into "She acted suspicious and nothing happened so this is a stupid story" territory almost immediately.

    Then again, some of the posters brag about weekend trips to Tokyo just to get flyer miles.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    bl1ndspot · 12 years ago

    I'm sorry, but I have to offer some advice here. After the painful experience of trying to read through some of these posts, I am quite frustrated. Please, make an investment in your future, for the sake of all of us. You will gain the ability to communicate more effectively, and we will not have to spend any more of our day, than is necessary, in the misery of your writing skills. Onto my advice, buy a copy of The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by Strunk and White. This book will provide some great insight into where to do things like place comma's, periods, begin a new paragraph, etc. These are some very basic things that will make reading your rants more enjoyable. I looked on Amazon.com and you can buy your very own copy of this for as little as $4.91, plus shipping.

    Donƒ??t get me wrong, I enjoy reading the intent of your posts, itƒ??s just the pain of completing many of them to get to your point, which is begging me to make this post.

    Finally, This post is meant to be humorous. If you are offended by it, Iƒ??m probably talking about your post.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Smith · 12 years ago
    Ahh, Jeff, my boy. In the future it would be best to refrain from criticizing someone's punctuation when you have made several errors yourself. I have enclosed YOUR completely unnecessary commas and words -- or omissions -- in [brackets] below, some with comments. But, Jeff, you ought at least to be able to form a simple PLURAL. It's "commas" not "comma's."

    You will gain the ability to communicate more effectively, and we will not have to spend any more of our day, than is necessary[,] in the misery of your writing [skills]. Onto [should be "on to," NOT "onto" ] my advice[, should be a full stop, like a colon, not a comma] buy a copy of The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition[ ] by Strunk and White. This book will provide some great insight into where to do things like place comma's, periods, begin a new paragraph, etc. These are some very basic things that will make reading your rants more enjoyable. I looked on Amazon.com[ ] and you can buy your very own copy [of this] for as little as $4.91, plus shipping.

    Donƒ??t get me wrong, I enjoy reading the intent of your posts[, full stop] itƒ??s just the pain of completing many of them to get to your point[,] which is begging me to make this post.
    As for my using "full stop," I'm not picky. Either a semi-colon, or period would have cured the problem, but your bizarre use of commas, especially in this context, is a problem. BTW, I've still got my copy of Strunk & White which I bought when I was 14, in 196 .
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mamie · 12 years ago
    Interesting article re records kept on travelers just came up on Yahoo:


    Can't help think all this was triggered by the one-way ticket and it just so happened a very unprofessional employee took the case.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brian H · 12 years ago
    Carol, #24;
    The reason? An inane extrapolation (the US should be so lucky!) of the fear of those trying to short-cut the route to US citizenship by means of quickie marriages to American citizens (you, in this case).

    Jerry Pournelle (on his eponymous site) touts the power of his Universal Iron Rule of Bureaucracy, which in short says the paper-pushers always take over and drive the competent ones out or underground -- and to hell with the purpose of the "bureau".
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Don Cordell · 12 years ago
    We have an estimated 4000 illegal aliens enter our southern borders daily, and once in America it's against the law to ask them if they are here illegally. then we are told we can't make them leave, unless they have committed a crime (it's a crime to enter our nation illegally) so they flaunt our laws, demand free medical care, then food stamps for a child they have in our nation, now free education and all other benefits. What Homeland Security?

    The actions at our ports of entry, and at airports must be to make up for the illegals that can enter carrying what ever they want. How has our government given some 00,000 Muslims who were caught entering our border with Mexico, applications for Amnesty? INS claims only 7% of those Muslims appeared in court on their assigned date to continue their application for Amnesty.

    I find all to many local police use the same tactics on American citizens in our cities every day.

    We have lost our way, and soon an Illegal immigrant named Barack Obama is about to be sworn in as our President. The Supreme Court has been chanrged with investigating this, and refuses to do so, WHY?

    We have been sold, so get use to more and more POLICE action, and even worse when they enact "REX 84" and Executive Orders to place our nation under Martial Law. Financial crisis, huge unemployment happening and more to come by our wonderful elected America government.

    I'm sorry foreign visitors to our nation are shaken up, but they are seeing the real America. If you have not left this nation, and tried to return, you have no idea what dumb people have been hired to fulfil these jobs.

    I will not fly even in the USA, because I tend to explode when I'm questioned illegally about where I came from and where I'm going.

    Get ready for more and more Road Blocks to check our Drivers license, to see if we are drunk, then to check our vehicles, and if we give them a hard time, we can be arrested just for failure to submit to illegal searching.
    We can be stopped at any time, even in our front yards by police and demanded to show ID, and be searched at any time. WE have not 4th amendment anymore, in fact we have NO Bill of Rights anymore. Free Speech is now Hate Speech, permits to own a gun may be denied. Rights to a trial when detained, now cancelled by the War Commissions act of 2006, that cancelled Habeas Corpus.
    The actions against anyone entering this nation are just a start of a totallitarian government that has taken over our nation. Welcome to the New World Order.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John D. · 12 years ago
    While this officer's conduct is inexcusable, I suspect the emphasis on harassing single women is based on trying to prevent human trafficking. The administration mandated all employees take training to identify and prevent young women from being used or sold. Your friend raised more than one red flag with her status and ticket, so the guard was able to question her for what would seem to be an unreasonable amount of time and reasonably search in detail. You may not have run into this criminal enterprise in the middle east, but it is problematic in Asia and eastern Europe. She should have been aware as well, so it doesn't make sense that this treatment would be totally unexpected, or that she would not be prepared for questioning.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Chuckles48 · 12 years ago
    My wife once worked for INS, and I found at the time that there were a certain percentage of folks who were great to deal with, and a certain percentage who were just frightfully bad. Honestly, this bit sounds as-bad-or-worse than the Russian border police I dealt with a few years ago. Actually, worse. Much worse.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    New Crusader · 12 years ago
    Flying internationally is no easy task! Let's see - there is jet lag, time zones, Customs, Immigration and now we have the under paid and poorly trained horses _ _ s named Knapp in MN. I was once pulled out of line and questioned in Taiwan because they wanted to know why I died my hair gray to hide my identity when my passport showed I had darker hair. What can be said for poor quality photo's about the size of a large postage stamp?

    Having worked and traveled in Thailand I have the greatest respect and love for the Thai people and food! Please extend my apologies to Aew for the treatment she received at the hands of an idiot who probably made a step up in life from a Rent A Cop to Homeland Security.

    Aew, I am embarrassed and ashamed at the treatment that you received at the hands of an obvious bully with a little bit of power and very little intelligence.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Pierce · 12 years ago
    I am not surprised by this, They hire these people & pay them nothing, That is the old adage..You get what you pay for! I am a former Marine (DAV) with a cane & have been bullied several times by these same types. I was in a combat MOS in the Corps, Their was a shortage of M.P.'s at the time. They pulled the sevice records of Marines who had some of the better records at the time & sent us to Military Police training, I will never forget one class being taught by a Federal Agent, He told
    us all about what he called the 'Wyatt Earp' Syndrome. This is when many people first get a Badge & a lot of authority they
    often get carried away & abuse their power, A good Training Officer will stop this or time on the job hopefully. This alway's
    stuck with me & i tryed to treat those i dealt with as i would wish to be treated. I think this officer KNAPP has a bad,bad, cas of the 'wyatt Earp' Syndrome, Sadly using my observations traveling, (Pofessional Music Industry) this seems indicitive of many
    "Airport Security officers'. This man should be made to answer for this, Training & just some plain common sense should have
    alerted him that this was not a 'person of Interest' Terror wise. Just look at the officers they hire, They cetainly (the Majority)
    do not bring confidence to me. There are some GOOD ones about out there but sadly there are far to many KNAPPS & just
    plain un-qaulified ones manning their post. I would like to know if he is a rookie or has the 'Wyatt Earp' Syndrome. Great job
    you are doing on blooded ground, God Bless & to you SEMPER FIDELIS!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kyle · 12 years ago
    I'm a asian, very dark skinned one on top of that. Wheneven I fly out of the country to visit family in Thailand I always get stopped and stuck in a room much like that, but you see the thing is i was a born US citizen, I servered 2 terms in the US army, and yet they still think just because i'm brown i'm a terrorist? I have friends and family that died(mostly from car bombs) because of these assholes and they are stopping asians? For f*** sake i'm a Catholic, it say it right on my dog tags which I still wear.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    CBP Insider · 12 years ago
    His name is Caleb.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ChrisVJ · 12 years ago
    For many years, on my travels, I thought of Americans as brash and sometimes tasteless, but one thing I so admired, their attitude towards authority. Americans could always be relied upon to stand up for themselves, not to be put upon.

    For me, the saddest aspect of the whole 911 saga and its sorry aftermath is the sea change in American citizens. No longer cocky toward authority, no longer sure of themselves, they stand in airport lines with eyes down, afraid to make loud comments or joke around, a downtrodden people.

    Once the brashness was annoying, I had no idea how much I would miss it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Don Gwinn · 12 years ago
    Aew, I'm sure you're reading this dispatch. I apologize for the way you were treated in my country. I'm sorry.

    And yes, I gave my real first name.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ray Fernandez · 12 years ago
    This is just the tip of the iceberg, children are beinbg tasered to death,young psychiatric patients are being pepper sprayed, old people are denied of their rights, intitutionalized and forced into forced guardianships while drugged and isolated.We document these cases almost daily at ElderAbuseHelp.Org a website that I started when my parents were separated after 58 years of marriage, my father died because of the stress and my mother was incapacitated and financially raped.
    I had to be the canary in the coal mine, but having lost freedom once in now communist Cuba I am very alarmed about the on going transition of my adopted country into a gulag.
    Did you know that we now imprison more citizens than any other country?
    Here if Florida alone we surpassed 100,000 people incarcerated, that one in four of every citizen in Miami.
    Your friend's perception of fear was very correct, be very afraid! Be very afraid.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Rainey · 12 years ago
    Michael and Aew, I too want to apologize on behalf of my nation that this happened to you.

    However your sad story is not new. Let me tell you a worse story from 20+ years ago that is nearly the same except for the email and cellphone part.

    A friend from a good family married a Philippina from a good family and started their own family in the US. By good family, I mean the husband was the son of a long-serving state senator. My friend earned six figures, 20 years ago.

    The wife had a sister who was about to enter college. She wanted to visit her extended family in America. Tickets were purchased, the 747 boarded.

    A tiny brown woman traveling alone, even -with- a return ticket, was and clearly still is, a red flag to immigration. They read through her diary and focused on her words that she was excited about "going to America" instead of "visiting America" and put her in an airport jail cell.

    They all learned the hard way that civil rights only start after immigration lets you in. There's even a CSNY song about it.

    Angry phone calls from both of the state's US Senators and the state's entire US Congressional delegation (the actual Senators & Congressmen, not staff) didn't help. After 15 days in lockup the young woman flew home having never set foot outside the airport. Even with all that political juice, nothing could be done. Nothing could be done after it either.

    A classic example of absolute power corrupting absolutely, amplified by the small minds who seem attracted to the job.

    There was a public scandal about this immigration office some years later. Too late for the sister. Not much has really changed, despite the publicity.

    I hope the rest of the visit was better.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jeroen Wenting · 12 years ago
    Treating anyone like that is a disgrace, treating a visitor to your country like that is worse.
    Had a US citizen been treated like that after being arrested by police he'd have a very strong case for a lawsuit against the police department treating him like that (a foreigner probably wouldn't, at least one legally in the country).
    But as this was a TSA Agent, and they're essentially above the law and can do whatever they want, they get away with it.

    Given stories like this, I don't think I'll visit the US again. Though a European and therefore not from a group that's flagged as potential illegal immigrants, I'm a single man and therefore a likely sexual deviant (British Airways won't let me sit next to children because in their book ALL men travelling alone are sex offenders)...

    I've visited the USSR several times, the GDR once or twice, and other WarPac countries during the height of the 1970s and '80s, and never was treated nearly as bad as that.
    Apart from being looked at suspiciously, noone ever did more than stamp your visum (though no doubt we were followed around when in country).
    Even my father, when he WAS taken from an airliner by the Hungarian secret police once, wasn't treated anywhere near this bad. And that was by a feared agency of a hostile country, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands, not by a borderguard who should be on the lookout for contraband ivory and fake Rolex watches, not looking down the blouse of Asian ladies.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    chiara subhas · 12 years ago
    I read your blog from time to time(which I enjoy), and just had to comment on this piece. I am a US citizen, born and raised here however both of my parents were immigrants. My father is from Kashmir and my middle name is Arabic. I have traveled the world extensively for long periods of time, including many countries in Africa, China, Vietnam and Cuba. However I have never been treated worse than in my own country upon returning. Questions about where I travelled, why I have dual citizenship and what I was bringing into the country. This has happened numerous times and I get very defensive when I come back into my own country. I have never in my whole life been proud to be an American, until this past election, and that is one of the reasons. I always feel like a criminal when I come back. The only country which has treated me worse, and the only country I truly despise! Is Israel. I am sorry for your friend and the experience she had, it is truly embarrassing.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Matthew Goggins · 12 years ago
    I don't know the details of what Mr. Knapp did and said, so I will take your word for the fact that he was rude and inappropriate with you on the phone.

    On the other hand, I am unwilling to second-guess his decision to detain and interrogate your friend Aew.

    I think you would agree with me that Al Qaeda would love to nuke or otherwise devastate several American cities if they had the means to do so.

    If Al Qaeda ever does pull off another major attack, do you or I or Mr. Knapp know who the terrorists will be and what they will look like?

    They might be Middle-Eastern males of course. But if they have anyone at all for the mission who doesn't fit that terrorist stereotype, you know they would be eager use them.

    You and I know that Aew is not an Islamist terrorist, and Mr. Knapp knows it now as well. But before he interrogated her, he wasn't sure, so he did what he considered to be the right thing, the thing he thought his position demanded.

    Mr. Knapp will probably detain hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals over the course of his career, and never come across a single terrorist. But that doesn't mean he shoudn't keep looking.

    Other than that, a great article, as usual, thank you. And I apologize to Aew for the fear and trauma of her experience. I hope she never has to go through anything like that again.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    C Woods · 12 years ago
    Greetings from China. I came to your blog via another American site.

    One of the interesting aspects of your writing is the personal, even private, nature of the narrative. It makes for compelling reading, convincing even.

    Here's the problem: Aew's case isn't unique so why does it draw so much ink, even from readers such as I? Why does it merit your attention and effort, more than other cases? And then when you consider the airport experiences of the weak, the half-illiterate, and the non-English arrivals without Americans waiting inside or outside the airport and they get more than the "shake down", as Americans put it, then Aew must be fortunate. In the room, alone, she knows she has you to turn to in the worst possible situation, you, a person of some measure of influence.

    Also, again, why in America is her kind of problem so prevalent indeed more commonplace than most other places. You have admitted to that; Aew has numerous immigration stamps from around the world.

    Several readers have commented that American citizens knew or had the gumption to stand up to authority. Not anymore? The morality in Aew's case is that it is not suppose to happen: people, especially in authority, should be decent towards the other. America has rule of law, people have rights. But yet...? Out of sheer prevalence, this cannot be a case of a few bad apples, especially since 9/11.

    The point, then, is this: in supposedly one of the world's freest places, richest, well-managed, it is also dysfunctional and at some levels horrifying - you never know when you're on the other side of the law. But nobody sees the dysfunction until they are face on with authority, such as in the vileness of a person named Mr Knapp. That authority is most readily found at the airport immigration counter. In Aew she experienced first hand the dysfunction because all along she thought of America as a great place and you, as a product of it, would be worth her while. Now, she knows better about America, though not necessarily applicable to you.

    You thought America is great too. And to be great, somebody or some other place has lesser worth, by any kind of qualitative or quantitative measures you care to name, specific to Aew's case, laws, rights, professional conduct. So, by those measures, China is not a great country, perhaps a pariah one. You said so: "She was treated better in China. So was I".

    Note, that was your conclusion.

    Now, do you see why Americans are despised in spite of all the kindness or generosity they appear to exhibit, which I'm sure you do?

    It is difficult to give proper and the precise expression to your conclusion. But it has elements of idealistic illusion, self-deception, arrogance especially, and a kind of national narcissism - all wrapped up in a system governed by law and rights. See the paradox? America, when you up close, can be a horror to behold.

    This deserves an exploratory book-length treatment.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark East · 12 years ago
    Matthew Goggins (reply 129) quote; "I don't know the details of what Mr. Knapp did and said...On the other hand, I am unwilling to second-guess his decision to detain and interrogate your friend Aew."

    Matt, with all due respect, both you and Mr Knapp are good examples of why people are so easy to manipulate.

    You because you are one of the "them's the rules, so we must follow " types. (Hitler would've been happy to have you on the team) .... and Mr Knapp because scaremongering and demonizing and putting too much power in the hands of ignorant individuals means that power WILL be abused (sometimes just for the sake of eg .

    This sort of attitude filters down from the top, and is entirely avoidable. Travel in Europe, or most of Asia, and you will find the authorities are firm, but very respectful and polite.

    These things SHOULD be subject to public inquiry, because besides inconveniencing and frightening an innocent person, Mr Knapp was endangering everyone and wasting his valuable time, which should have been devoted to looking for REAL threats (and you don't need to be a rocket scientist, Matt, to see that a 40 year old, well traveled Thai woman with credit cards is not likely to be a terrorist).

    I would suspect that such inquiries would reveal that people like Mr Knapp are in the wrong job.

    Having said that, I feel it things will not change under the present government, as they have some considerable interest in promoting a siege mentality amongst the American people.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Matthew Goggins · 12 years ago

    I didn't say we should interrogate people because the rules tell us to do so. We should interrogate people because that might be an effective way of disrupting terror plots. That's why we changed the rules so radically after 9-11.

    If our interrogation policies do not in fact serve to deter and disrupt terror plots, then we should chuck them and be very happy to be done with them.

    Treating visitors to our country as potential suspects seems Nazi-like to you. But please remember we are trying to avoid bloodshed, not initiate it. Any border guard who is guilty of xenophobia or misconduct should be disciplined or fired.

    We have a responsibility to each other to secure our country to the best of our ability. You and I and everyone else are going to debate how to do that. Disagreement doesn't make one of us a fascist, as long as we share the same goals and the same concerns. As far as I can tell, we do.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Matthew Goggins · 12 years ago

    I want to address one more point that you made.

    You said that "a 40 year old, well traveled Thai woman with credit cards is not likely to be a terrorist".

    I agree. Very few people, almost no one actually, are likely to be terrorists. But Mr. Knapp's job is not to figure out which travellers are likely to be terrorists -- that is probably an impossible task.

    Mr. Knapp's job is to make it as difficult as possible for terrorists to use our aviation system as a weapon against us.

    Throwing in the element of aggressive, somewhat arbitrary, surveillance at ports of entry makes it harder (hopefully a lot harder) for terrorists to calculate the probability of success for high-stakes operations, such as 9-11. It makes it harder for them to train, co-ordinate, and execute their plans.

    If Mr. Knapp actually succeeds in stopping or apprehending a real-live honest-to-goodness terrorist in the process, that is only a somewhat improbable bonus. Like what happened to the millenium bomber at the ferry terminal in Anacortes, Washington.

    It is a great shame that the visitors who get detained at our airports are bearing such a disproportionate burden. If there is a better way to treat our guests, then we should do it. But such decisions should always place the security issue on the other side of the balance, and the weightier concerns should dictate what we do.

    Thank you for responding civilly to my point of view. I think we're on the same side here, but if I'm mistaken, feel free to let me know.

    All the best,
  • This commment is unpublished.
    icesurvivor · 12 years ago
    Mike, I can tell you what happens if they had decided that she planned to live in the states, she would have been cuffed and ankle shackled, taken to an Immigration jail, and dumped in a freezing pen with up to 80 other women. She could be stuck there for months, sometimes years. I worked at the bank and lived in Chicago for 20 years; I was in this jail because I sued Immigration to get them to finally spit out my green card, I was an ƒ??Administrative Detaineeƒ??. I am now stuck in the UK with nothing, yet I own a house with a mortgage in Chicago. Everything I have worked for 20 years has been destroyed. I paid tax on all of my earnings; I was an IRS Enrolled Agent....

    As you are in shock being arrested by the men in Black, you are told to collect your medications, they just want to talk to you; you donƒ??t get a phone call, you donƒ??t see your medication again (where does it go??)

    Once you are in jail you are given substitute medications, which can make you very sick. Example an elderly Indian lady with high blood pressure and diabetes, so they wake her at 5am to record her blood pressure, it shows low, they take her blood sugar as soon as she has eaten, to show it is ok; the rest of the time because she is NOT OK she is either on the cold floor or on the bunk in her cell, unable to function. She has a urine infection they won't treat, it progresses to a kidney infection, she is shaking and jolting with the pains inside her, and the guards will not do anything and punish me for asking for help for her. I made phone calls to the OIG hotline to get her help, telling them she would die if they did not do something. They wanted her to walk down the stairs, she couldnƒ??t, (they are laughing when she is throwing up and falling down off the toilet onto the floor headfirst) With another inmate we walked in front and behind her so she did not fall, the guard was annoyed, nobody told him he had to deal with this, he called for a wheelchair. They took her up to medical where she said they gave her antibiotics, she lost 10 pounds in 10 days..the day she walked back into the main cell, and she was deported and shoved on to the plane that night. She too had applied for her green card. Her file was marked RUSH too. I had four months to see the abuses in jail.
    I am now having liver tests for the rash that covered my body from the throat down that I contracted in the jail. We were forced to clean times a day with chemicals and no gloves.
    I met Julie Myers, head of ICE, in the jail, she put her hands on the table, I told her she should wash them because it says on the bottle that if it comes into contact with the skin you should wash with cold water for 20 mins, and call the poison control center!

    So that your friend was not arrested and shoved into jail ƒ?? she should consider herself very, very lucky. Homeland Security officership is encouraging the worst aspects of human behaviour, (Die Welle; ignorance, fascism, the ƒ??need to belongƒ?? Abu Ghraib! Same thingƒ??) and is creating a ready bunch of new Nazis, under your noses. There were two US Citizens in Immigration jail with me, because they make mistakes, and donƒ??t care to correct them. I watched one young Us Citizen having a nervous breakdown, she couldnƒ??t comprehend why she was in there. They spent over half a million dollars to arrest and detain me, I was not a fugitive, I worked in a bank, and have never even had a parking ticket. I am supposed to be grateful to have survived. Over 80 people have died that we know of in these jails. We only know about them because they had relatives who were citizens, who managed to get someone to listen, and put them in touch with NY Times who is keeping statistics. I have watched them bring people close to death with their tactics to demean and destroy people who were not born in the States.

    So I repeat, your friend is Extremely fortunate that she was not put through this, for absolutely nothing.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Hamilton · 12 years ago
    I don't usually look back to sites where I've made comments, but did for this one. There sure are some angry people out there. I see the older versions of these guys at the V.A., still angry after all these years. They tend to drive rusted-out pickup trucks festooned with bumper stickers that express a laundry list of hatreds: "liberals," Kerry, Muslims, "Democrats," immigrants, the mythical great masses of gun control advocates, "communists," and on and on and on. Here's an example: [URL removed by Webmaster]

    It is a good thing to be proud of your honorable service. You also have every right and justification for being angry. What you might want to do is direct your anger at those who cooked up the lies that got you sent to "Iraq" in the first place. I served in the military in a different era, when we knew it was all a big lie, and we served with honor anyway. Nowadays, with the "all volunteer" military, the services can self-select for true believers. The Marines, in particular, are easily programmed for group mind. I can only imagine what it must be like to have an independent thought in today's Marine Corps.

    What I suggest for those with raging anger against enemies real and/or imagined is that you look into your anger and see if you can discover its real source. You might be surprised at what you find.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steven Thomas · 12 years ago
    "Welcome Back to The United States..." as often as I have traveled outside of the US, I've never heard a border guard say welcome back. As an American, these people know how to piss off most normal people returning from a simple vacation. As a human being, they are an embarrassment to the human race. The excuse "we're just trying to do our jobs..." is a bunch of bull.

    Your friend is owed an apology.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    andy · 12 years ago
    I've been a reader of Yon's for a few years now. He seems to be able to call his shots with great accuracy. Let's hope he's wrong about Afghanistan. According to the CIA, we need less democracy building and more taliban killing. Yon thinks we should pull out. But what happens then? Does Afghanistan just become a shooting gallery for Predators or do we just let the gangrenous boil on the planet festoon?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Spencer · 12 years ago
    Why do we allow such people to work for us? And yes they work for you and me. I believe in our constitution and any time we give up our freedoms, any freedoms we lose and the terrorist have won, they made us change how we live. We say I want to be safe, I say I would rather be free. At what price are we willing to give up our freedoms. This agent any many, many more like him are in Homeland Security it is time they were gone, we complain but do nothing. The time has come that we as Americans say enough is enough. This agent is a normal Immigration Agent.

    Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government... Thomas Jefferson (The Declaration of Independence)

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SFC MAC · 11 years ago
    @"John Hamilton:
    "I don't usually look back to sites where I've made comments, but did for this one. There sure are some angry people out there."

    Yeah, and their Democrats targeting the free speech of fed-up Americans who are angry with their jack-booted tactic

    "They tend to drive rusted-out pickup trucks festooned with bumper stickers that express a laundry list of hatreds: "liberals," Kerry, Muslims, "Democrats," immigrants, the mythical great masses of gun control advocates, "communists," and on and on and on. "

    Considering the Marxist currently occupying the White House, those bumper stickers are fairly accurate.

    "What you might want to do is direct your anger at those who cooked up the lies that got you sent to "Iraq" in the first place."

    The Bush lied" mantra is hackneyed and patently false. You need to get a clue, bud: http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/no-lies-about-iraq/

    I served in the United States Army (now retired) as an Intelligence Anayst. I was in Iraq twice.

    "Nowadays, with the "all volunteer" military, the services can self-select for true believers. "

    True believers...as in people who stand behind their principles and values; and yeah, even believe that America isn't always the "bad guy".

    "What I suggest for those with raging anger against enemies real and/or imagined is that you look into your anger and see if you can discover its real source. You might be surprised at what you find."

    Oh goody, a self-appointed psychoanalyst who wants everyone to think that their anger at the way our national securiity and economy is being destroyed by a bunch of socialist effetes, is somehow "imaginary". Newsflash: The enemy is here, it's real, and unfortunately, the source will be in power until he gets kicked out in 2012.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    basketball shoes · 11 years ago
    The list -- one of oh so many lists -- is also refreshingly interesting in and of itself, a fine example of a publication stepping outside of the hive mentality and coming up with something that feels personal. Even if I don't personally agree with a lot of it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JR Dunn · 11 years ago
    You can toss all the nonsense about terrorists, Al Q, nuking Minnesota and etc. aside. Little man Caleb is obviously an old INS hand, and was trying to bag Aew for one thing: sneaking into the country as a mail-order bride. The business of questioning both parties (Aew and Michael Y. in this case) is an INS trick meant to ferret out contradictions. If any such arise, the agent can assume that the two don't actually know each other and send the "bride" back on the next plane.

    Of course, that immediately raises the question of what Caleb thought he was doing wasting his time on such trivia while people are tyring to blow up airliners over Detroit. Seems that some people need their priorities straightened out. Which, I'm sure, comes as news to nobody at this stage of the Long War.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dave C · 11 years ago
    I was witness to a similar incident that a witch working the Canadian side near Detroit had gotten a nasty attitude with my Wife for stopping slightly ahead of the STOP sign at the border crossing. It was obvious she was trying to escalate the issue, angry, threatening face. As we sat there at the gate with the woman snobbily asking "didnt you see the Stop sign..." I took notice, and when she asked "whats the most valuable thing in your vehicle" I proudly exclaimed THIS VIDEO CAMERA THATS RUNNING and held it up showing her that I had been recording her.

    She shut up IMMEDIATELY and sent us through.

    TAPE RECORDER. NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT. The corrupt play the "you cant prove it" game.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    RS · 11 years ago
    Although I did not have any issues with the border control but there is what I noticed when I traveled to Europe a few years ago. Every country I traveled to, I was greeted by friendly border patrol staff who directed me on where to go and checked my passport. Every Country! When I arrived back in the states I was greeted by what seemed to be people who hated their jobs. Not friendly at all. This was also the case when I was leaving the country. I was embarrased to be an American. Al the tourists from other countries get the feeling "Welcome to America" froma bunch of people that are unhappy. Is this what America is??!! Sad time.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MikeNZ · 11 years ago
    He sounds like a wannabe.
    Has he been properly and positively I dentified for proceedings to proceed?
    Have you asked for the video and transcript?
    Is he going to be prosecuted for the violation of privacy of a US citizen?
    Change happens one person at a time sometimes.
    Today you have the power to effect change.
    I am sure the ACLU will handle it for no fee.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    td · 11 years ago
    in mpls if she was an ethiopian muslim or somali with no ID, a burkah, and a sad look in her eye they would have paid for her flight and set her up on welfare---those MN TC people are into making amends for things they or their swedish german folks never did-----------see garrison K. they have to be first to apologize for every act commited in North America---they are nuts.
    but, they are so self righteous that they think they are so special and "informed", super smart and sensitive, intuitive
    that Sir KNappy can see beyond the reality of your friend into another dimension --and therefore have the right to hold her there for whatever amount of time until thier great brains are satisfied that they know the truth. crazy.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    df · 11 years ago
    This sounds like the bully tactics the IRS used when I worked for them, then one day I got a conscience and decided to get out of organized crime. They don't let you leave easily when you disagree with their practices, it's like trying to leave the mafia. They try to ruin you afterward in order to discredit anything negative you have to say about them and their thuggery.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    wanderer · 11 years ago
    regret that it's just a typical american tale these days. So many horror stories (the Canadian psychology prof barred from entry at the border because he had once written a scholarly article about LSD 0 years before, the UK musicologist who was the victim of an anonymous "tip", the Italian banker --with a US girlfriend-- jailed for many days and held incommunicado...) Generally the TSA / US border officials I've come across seem to be low paid & poorly educated, (which is forgivable) but also deeply suspicious of the outside world and often extremely --pompously (& pathetically)--- officious (which seems to be a uniquely American cultural phenomenon). Basically the same kind of folks wageslaving at MacDonalds and Walmart, but with a uniform. The solution? a better public education system? Higher wage scale to attract college grads? well i wouldn't hold my breath waiting... maybe the real question - is it really worth the trouble visiting the states? So many other places to go...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joe OConnor · 11 years ago
    Michael, thank you for publishing this article, it’s appalling to hear we continue to have these issues with homeland security. I agree the Knapp’s of this world somehow manage to even surpass security measures “homeland Security” with their own background check of their employees. However this is ongoing concern not just with homeland security but with our own law enforcement which has created animosity. “Years ago theses were once noble professions”
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Talk more about Cale · 11 years ago
  • This commment is unpublished.
    A Brit · 11 years ago
    This sort of cr*p is why I won't visit the dump that is America if I can possibly avoid it!
    Every story I hear or see about "Homeland (lack of?) Security" puts me off even more. America used to be run by the Brits, it should be again (admittedly not under the current government), as they have clearly lost the plot.

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