Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tax dollars at work: Homeland security protecting America

A COVENTRY barman was kicked out of the US by anti-terror agents after joking on Twitter that he was going to “destroy America” and “dig up Marilyn Monroe”.

Leigh Van Bryan, aged 26, was arrested on suspicion of planning to commit crimes after landing at Los Angeles airport, quizzed for five hours and slung in a holding cell with Mexican drug dealers. His travelling companion, Emily Banting, 24, from Birmingham, was also detained.
They were put on a plane home the following day and must apply for visas from the US Embassy in London before flying to the States again.

The Department of Homeland Security flagged up Leigh as a potential threat after tweeting about their plans to “destroy America” – a slang term for partying.

He was also quizzed about another tweet quoting hit US cartoon Family Guy, which read: “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p*ssing people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!”
Federal agents even searched his suitcase looking for spades and shovels, and claimed Emily was planning to act as Leigh’s look-out while he raided Marilyn’s tomb.

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. I kept saying to them they had got the wrong meaning from my tweet.

“When I was in the van I was handcuffed and put in a cage.

“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.”

Emily said: “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.

“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.”

Nobody from the Department for Homeland Security was available for comment.

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