Breaking: Michael Yon arrested at Seattle airport

posted at 1:22 pm on January 5, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Thank goodness our Homeland Security people are on the job after the EunuchBomber botched attack on Christmas Day.  We certainly don’t want to have independent war correspondents passing through our airports without revealing their annual income:

Got arrested at the Seattle airport for refusing to say how much money I make. (The uniformed ones say I was not “arrested”, but they definitely handcuffed me.) Their videos and audios should show that I was polite, but simply refused questions that had nothing to do with national security. Port authority police eventually came — they were professionals — and rescued me from the border bullies.

When they handcuffed me, I said that no country has ever treated me so badly. Not China. Not Vietnam. Not Afghanistan. Definitely not Singapore or India or Nepal or Germany, not Brunei, not Indonesia, or Malaysia, or Kuwait or Qatar or United Arab Emirates. No county has treated me with the disrespect can that can be expected from our border bullies.

Jazz Shaw wonders what the hell is going on:

Very strange. Even if you’re into profiling, Yon would hardly fit one you’d be interested in. Of course, his passport, by now, doubtless has a list of countries stamped into it which could give an inspector pause, but that’s no excuse. Very, very strange. I expect this one will be high profile enough that you’ll see an apology coming from the government.

Unless there is more to this story, an apology would be the least owed to Yon.  When an American citizen with a valid passport presents himself for travel, there should be some reasonable screening to verify identity and to determine whether there is a physical risk, ie, weapons and the like.  Why should border security be interested in Yon’s annual income?  How does that relate to national security and border protection?  Unless this is an arm of the Internal Revenue Service, it doesn’t, and Yon was right to refuse to answer the question.

Instead of hassling American citizens about their income or watching the ice melt, how about paying attention to actual security and intelligence issues?  Please?

Update: Media Matters wants to quibble over the use of the word “arrested,” but when the cops slap handcuffs on you and detain you, you’ve been arrested, both literally (as in “motion stopped”) and practically.  Yon didn’t get booked, or charged with any offense, as Yon himself notes.


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Finally getting tough on the real terrorists!

lorien1973 on January 5, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Instead of hassling American citizens about their income or watching the ice melt, how about paying attention to actual security and intelligence issues? Please?

Preach, Brother, preach.

+1,000,000

kingsjester on January 5, 2010 at 1:23 PM

I’ve travelled to/from overseas a fair number of times and I’ve NEVER been asked my income.

JohnTant on January 5, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Unfortunately, this is what passes for “security” these days.

crazy_legs on January 5, 2010 at 1:24 PM

How does that relate to national security and border protection?

Come on Ed! You know Napolitano thinks Yon is a redneck home grown in America, wanting our military men and women to come to the Dark (conservative) side!

upinak on January 5, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Why should border security be interested in Yon’s annual income?

In Nicaragua, local police, highway patrols at checkpoints etc. are routinely asking stuff like this and expecting a handout in order to get a pass to travel down a highway or get through some area.

Same, same? banana republic crapola? Shakin’ down Yon to get some of his Yen?

ted c on January 5, 2010 at 1:26 PM

This is outrageous .

OmahaConservative on January 5, 2010 at 1:26 PM

WTF?????

rockmom on January 5, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Maybe the brown shirts are just trying to see if they have a new revenue stream for health care? Tax the heck outta independent journalists and save us all! Not.

Deckard on January 5, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Of all the people to screw up with, they had to pick a respected independent reporter. I hope Yon gives them hell.

TQM38a on January 5, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Their videos and audios should show that I was polite, but simply refused questions that had nothing to do with national security.

I can just hear the response from the TSA martinets…. “I’ll decide what has to do with national security.”

highhopes on January 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Annual income? WTH?

d1carter on January 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM

This will blow up in their faces. No pun intended.

SouthernGent on January 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM

This is downright outrageous. Hassling an American citizen, especially Michael Yon in this fashion.
Maybe if he held a koran, this harassment would have been avoided.
Ridiculous.

cubachi on January 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM

You know what would fix all this? Unionizing the TSA bullies.

a capella on January 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM

smartass border agent: seeing all the travel on yon’s passport made him think he could ask a smartass question and figger out if yon was legit – like: how could YOU afford to fly all over like this!?!?

the agent should be reprimanded/demoted.

reliapundit on January 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM

I can’t figure this one out at all. What’s the point about asking about his income? How would the answer, whatever it is, affect the decision to let him in or not? Kudos to Yon for standing firm — as for the agent, I hope he returns from the Twilight Zone soon.

jwolf on January 5, 2010 at 1:28 PM

..and they want unionize the TSA? Big O won’t even mention this ’cause he’s not a hypenated American. “The border guards acted stupidly.” Ain’t gonna happen.

Deckard on January 5, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Hmmmm… placed in cuffs for excercising His basic Freedom of Speech, which must by definition include the Freedom NOT to speak.

Interesrting….

Romeo13 on January 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Obama: Michael Yon acted stupidly.

cntrlfrk on January 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

First they came for Joan Rivers, then for Michael Yon.

Hmmm………

drjohn on January 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

The inmates are running the asylum.
What next..”Whats your favorite color?”
Beam me up.

Itchee Dryback on January 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

I hope to God that Yon blasts this outrage far and wide and keeps up the pressure!!!

katy on January 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Why is his abuse at the hands of TSA more egregious than that suffered by any other American?

Extrafishy on January 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Despicable.This guys a national hero IMO.

theTarCzar on January 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

American citizen with valid passport — detained
Nigerian flying from Yemen without a passport, paying cash and no luggage — well come right on in.

So when does the Mad Hatter host his tea party?

rbj on January 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Well in their defense, from what I’ve heard Yon has huge balls. they probably saw the bulge and suspected something was packed in his underwear.

redshirt on January 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Yon has been to a bunch of countries without a formal employer, right? They might have been worried he was a smuggler.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

the agent should be reprimanded/demoted.

reliapundit on January 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM

should be fired. The question is one thing. The handcuffs, another.

bridgetown on January 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

How about asking him a relevant question like, “Is your underwear set to explode.”

hepcat on January 5, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Maybe he has too many things in common with that memo that came out around the time the Tea Party movement started. You know the home grown terrorists that was just a “draft”. I wish I thought this would get the proper attention but I am afraid that they are more likely to trump up something about Mr. Yon. Afterall, aren’t the trying to get a stalker as the head of TSA?

Cindy Munford on January 5, 2010 at 1:31 PM

The government doesn’t care a tax cheat runs the treasury but cares about the financials of a war correspondent? What a country!

cadams on January 5, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Part of me calls BS on this. But then again, I have seen TSA do some weird stuff over the years.

BierManVA on January 5, 2010 at 1:31 PM

A lady friend of Yon’s got hassled at an American airport a year or two ago. She was from (if I remember correctly) SE Asia — Taiwan or Vietnam or some place like that. The language he used to describe her experience is very similar to the language he’s using now to describe his own experience. He was annoyed that America’s border control was being so mean and ungentlemanly to his personal female person even though I don’t think she was a citizen. Doubtless he was even more annoyed at the Seattle folks and let that show in his interactions with them. However, he *is* a citizen, he is *not* a Muslim, and it does seem to me that being a white middle-class citizen born in America should have at least the same level privileges inherent as we hurry to give to Nigerians and Gitmo detainees. Maybe he needs to threaten to behead someone to get some respect.

NahnCee on January 5, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Should have said he was a member of the New Black Panthers.

Free pass.

jeff_from_mpls on January 5, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Extrafishy on January 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

It’s not. But it’s a blog post. This post is about it. See?
sheesh

bridgetown on January 5, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Why is his abuse at the hands of TSA more egregious than that suffered by any other American?

Extrafishy on January 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Well, for one thing, I haven’t heard of anyone else being treated this way. So… do we ignore this then because it may have happened elsewhere?

WitchDoctor on January 5, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I agree that the government doesn’t understand what self-employed means. Or employed.

lorien1973 on January 5, 2010 at 1:32 PM

No one expects the air port security..

the_nile on January 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Why is his abuse at the hands of TSA more egregious than that suffered by any other American?

Extrafishy on January 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

I don’t know, I am hearing a lot about Joan Rivers today. It’s not more egregious but it will garner more attention to the stupidity of our security rules.

Cindy Munford on January 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

This is just intimidation that came straight from the White House.

Knucklehead on January 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

No, they arrested him for not answering questions. Any non-white citizen of the US knows this treatment already.

I suggested this in an earlier headline message but I’m pretty convinced now…

We need to shut down the TSA to pre 9/11 levels.

It won’t be much longer before they’ll turn on this same level of “security” at domestic airports and then will come the border checks on the highways…

Skywise on January 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Well, as our president says, poverty causes terrorism. We have to ask these questions to find the poor people trying to kill us.

Mark1971 on January 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Well, DHS did designate returning veterans as “potential terrorists.” Granted, Yon didn’t serve in the recent conflicts – he covered them – but he DID serve at one point. Making him a heightened security risk, according to DHS.

What his income has to do with anything is unclear to me an every thinking person in the US that isn’t an Obamacrat dunce, but there you have it.

Good Lt on January 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Geez, all this crap going down now. Airports getting shut down left and right. I’m hoping this’ll make it onto some of the Fox programs tonight so the word really gets out.

Emily M. on January 5, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Cindy Munford on January 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Maybe they were frisked by the same TSA?

upinak on January 5, 2010 at 1:34 PM

No county has treated me with the disrespect can that can be expected from our border bullies.

Unless, of course, you’re entering illegally on our southern border. In that case, asking questions is the potential crime.

Itchee Dryback on January 5, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Yon has been to a bunch of countries without a formal employer, right? They might have been worried he was a smuggler.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I didn’t know that was in their job description. I thought they were supposed to keep aircraft from being hijacked or blown up.

a capella on January 5, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Wow. Just wow.

jennifernaz on January 5, 2010 at 1:34 PM

wait till the border bullies are unionized.

r keller on January 5, 2010 at 1:34 PM

The stupid being led by the incompetent. Lord help us.

jukin on January 5, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Cindy Munford on January 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

What was JR’s reaction? Was she as polite as Yon?

OmahaConservative on January 5, 2010 at 1:35 PM

No, they arrested him for not answering questions. Any non-white citizen of the US knows this treatment already.

Nonsense – an urban myth promoted by race baiters.

rhombus on January 5, 2010 at 1:35 PM

I agree that the government doesn’t understand what self-employed means. Or employed.

lorien1973 on January 5, 2010 at 1:32 PM

How can you have a purpose without government?!

Skywise on January 5, 2010 at 1:35 PM

I’ve been asked my income by Canadian Customs at both the border and arriving airport. I’ve been asked my income and employment by German Border Police at the Munich Airport. I’ve been asked my employment at the U.S. border coming back from Canada. Some of these jokers are fixated on it for some reason. I can see why income or money or credit being carried as you cross into a foreign country might be an issue since if you can’t pay, you’ll end up a financial burden on them. But coming into your own country, it is a prying and outrageous question imho.

Laddy on January 5, 2010 at 1:35 PM

See you in FEMA camp Mike! we’ll trade stories.

ted c on January 5, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Interesting reminder that increased security comes with a price.

I’m very curious regarding why that question was asked. I doubt it was random.

Of course, public inquiry may give terrorists and illegals pointers on how to bluff their way a cross the border…

Bleeds Blue on January 5, 2010 at 1:36 PM

TSA = Too Stupid for Arby’s

OhioCoastie on January 5, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Itchee Dryback on January 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Horizontal airspeed velocity of an unladen Swallow?

Romeo13 on January 5, 2010 at 1:36 PM

We need to shut down the TSA to pre 9/11 levels.

Skywise on January 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

We need to do better than that. Do you remember airport security prior to the 9/11/01 atrocities?

highhopes on January 5, 2010 at 1:37 PM

highhopes on January 5, 2010 at 1:37 PM

About the same, with less lines.

lorien1973 on January 5, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Fifth Amendment anyone?

barnone on January 5, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Interesting reminder that increased security comes with a price.

I agree. Maybe the TSA people wanted a bribe.

lorien1973 on January 5, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Unbelievable.

becki51758 on January 5, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Yon has been to a bunch of countries without a formal employer, right? They might have been worried he was a smuggler.
Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

True. Freelance reporters and photographers have been stopped and arrested throughout the U.S., people such as Yon and…uh…well there’s….uh…umm…ok let’s see…

Bishop on January 5, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Sort of like what’s in store for your upcoming census is it?

tarpon on January 5, 2010 at 1:39 PM

I feel so much safer.

LibTired on January 5, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Horizontal airspeed velocity of an unladen Swallow?

Romeo13 on January 5, 2010 at 1:36 PM

African or European?

loudmouth883 on January 5, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Of course, his passport, by now, doubtless has a list of countries stamped into it which could give an inspector pause, but that’s no excuse.

Why not? As far as the TSA people (or whoever it was) know, Yon was a guy with a sketchy travel history who was uncooperative. So they detained him (not arrested, there’s a difference) until they could figure out what was going on. Isn’t this what you guys want them to do?

RightOFLeft on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Welcome to Obama world.

csdeven on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

The educated class would be ok with this. – Brooks

Weight of Glory on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Technically, a government agent “arrests” an individual when that individual’s freedom of movement is curtailed.

Michael was arrested.

The DHS can call it whatever they want.

Mark Steyn says the rest of the world is laughing at us. Their laughter just went from “robust” to “hysterical.”
__________

RJGatorEsq. on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Lucky he’s not Muslim.

Grow Fins on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Put that agent on the Border Patrol!

theTarCzar on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Pretty soon, TSA will ask for bank records.

madmonkphotog on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Very strange. Even if you’re into profiling, Yon would hardly fit one you’d be interested in.

Not the kind you or I would be interested in, Jazz.

But I don’t think our current leadership much cares for independent blogger types.

forest on January 5, 2010 at 1:43 PM

In Paris at American’s checkin, I was asked which hotel I stayed at.
“Ritz”. I was then asked after an eyeroll to prove it with a receipt.

Marcus on January 5, 2010 at 1:43 PM

They might have been worried he was a smuggler.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

And?? If one was a criminal and was asked that question, you just make something up. “ha ha…you’ll have to ask my accountant”, or “$55k”..or “I live off my rich wife, ask her”..or “I’m a hobo”

If this question is asked to many people who this particular agent deals with, then that should be easy to establish, as would the responses given by those people.

Itchee Dryback on January 5, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Yon could’ve heard wrong. They might have asked for his incoming. All right I’m done

Grunchy Cranola on January 5, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Too bad the maggots at SEATAC hassled Mike. He should’ve said his accountant has that information and that he didn’t know offhand.

Christien on January 5, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Why not? As far as the TSA people (or whoever it was) know, Yon was a guy with a sketchy travel history who was uncooperative. So they detained him (not arrested, there’s a difference) until they could figure out what was going on. Isn’t this what you guys want them to do?

RightOFLeft on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

What does his income have to do with it? There is no reason for them to ask him that question.

loudmouth883 on January 5, 2010 at 1:44 PM

No one expects the air port security.

the_nile on January 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Time to subject the Panty Bomber to the comfy chair!

OhioCoastie on January 5, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Well…Don’t leave home without it. Two pieces of identification and your last years taxes. The IRS will be present to verify.

Electrongod on January 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Maybe they thought Yon was smuggling America guns into Mexico?

mad saint jack on January 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM

If this wasn’t so sad it would be knee slapping funny. I hope government health care is as efficient and effective as TSA . . . good lord this is getting spooky.

rplat on January 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Pretty soon, TSA will ask for bank records.

madmonkphotog on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

No, thats going to be the agencies that run the spankin’ new health care program.

Itchee Dryback on January 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM

OmahaConservative on January 5, 2010 at 1:35 PM

I actually haven’t seen her speak of it, only third person reports. Her real name (widow of) is Rosenberg and the small airport personnel apparently didn’t understand the a.k.a. thing on her passport and refused to let her fly home. A porter that worked at the airport got a friend to drive her to a large airport and they let her go home. The report says she is pretty spun up.

Cindy Munford on January 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM

This is what you can expect when you give almost unlimited authority to the lowest run of society.

Oldnuke on January 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Bleeds Blue on January 5, 2010 at 1:36 PM

A price? Which price is that? Letting a radical who wants to blow up a plane via his explosive crotch or shoes due to some Diety to get to heaven?

Or telling someone my income because it is of National Security…. to whom?

Make your choice there Bleeds.

upinak on January 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Well, let’s use my Emir 0-Bama checklist to see if this is okay…..

Subject: Michael Yon

White guy? Check.

Involved with US Military in positive way? Check.

Non-Leftwing politics? Check.

Clearly, the TSA has saved us from an “unprecedented” and devastating assault from one of those racist “right-wing tea-bagger” nutcases…..

/sarc

dmh0667 on January 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

RightOFLeft on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Handcuffs?

Cindy Munford on January 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

A conservative blogger is not a threat to the security of the nation, but he is damned dangerous to the Democrats. Of course they need to know his income to assess that threat.

pedestrian on January 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

We adopted from Ukraine a few years ago. When we entered the USA at Tampa, our 5 year old, blonde haired, blue eyed child had his shoes removed and was scanned repeatedly. Thankfully he slept through it. I refused to let him out of my arms. Some of these people are morons.

AubieJon on January 5, 2010 at 1:47 PM

I received a sneak peek at the Left’s new narrative courtesy of a BBC interview yesterday with the despicable Margaret Cho. The problem is not AQ or Yemen but that the “teabaggers” in April “will do something crazy” involving violence against the USA because “you know, that’s the same month that Timothy McVeigh and Columbine happened.”

Anyone that is vocal (directly or indirectly) in their criticism of America’s unsustainable fiscal policy will be equated with McVeigh and Columbine… so expect the Left to throw a Timothy McVeigh millstone around Michael Yon’s neck because he refused to give his income statements to the TSA.

ScottMcC on January 5, 2010 at 1:47 PM

African or European?

loudmouth883 on January 5, 2010 at 1:41 PM

TSA Agent: “Sorry, but that is an uncooperative answer… Cuff em Dano!”

Romeo13 on January 5, 2010 at 1:47 PM

So, in case this message was totally lost on any of you, the Obama administration is making it clear who the terrorists are:

Not Nigerian men with explosives in their groins.

American soldiers who refuse to tell the government what they earn. Maybe the administration’s going to throw all the rich people in jail to fund Obamacare or something…

englishqueen01 on January 5, 2010 at 1:48 PM

I’ve travelled to/from overseas a fair number of times and I’ve NEVER been asked my income.

JohnTant on January 5, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Me either. Though I did see an agent smash a guy’s watch once.

I suspect the salary question is fair game for non-citizens. They can ask to see your bank statements, too. But no way in hell should a US Citizen be asked this information upon returning to his own country.

TexasDan on January 5, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Janet Napolnatano: The System Worked.

mizflame98 on January 5, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Handcuffs?

Cindy Munford on January 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

You can be handcuffed without being arrested, yes.

RightOFLeft on January 5, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Horizontal airspeed velocity of an unladen Swallow?

Romeo13 on January 5, 2010 at 1:36 PM

African or European?

Holger on January 5, 2010 at 1:50 PM

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