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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If Yon would have had a bomb strapped to his crotch, he probably would have sailed through security.

tommer74 on January 5, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Do you not know who Michael Yon is or what he does? If you think that your experience is (or should be) comparable to his, then you are missing the point in a huge way.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Yes I do. Do you know who I am or what I do?
What’s your point?

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:03 PM

If you know who Michael Yon is, then the point of the question becomes moot.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 4:57 PM

What does that mean? Who suggested that the customs officers knew who Michael Yon was?

How is Yon any different from an independent contractor working in various countries in the Middle East? With the massive numbers of contractors supporting the … Overseas Contingency Operations … this shouldn’t be that rare.

Wait… are you suggesting that Michael Yon told the customs officers that he was an over-seas contractor? I don’t think there is any evidence of that. I suspect he told them what he actually does, which is decidedly NOT common.

It was a question about income. Which frankly is the perhaps the most ridiculous question imaginable since it would be nearly impossible for anybody to verify!

You too, seem to be entirely missing the point. It was almost certainly not a question to actually find out what his income was. What would be the point in that?

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 5:04 PM

You can not be arrested for not answering questions unless the questions are germane to the reason you are being asked.

Which they were… You might not think that, but that’s discrectionary of the officer on the job.

AHHHHHHHHHH there was no TSA prior to 911.

AHHHHHHHHHH yes there was. But it was merely a regulatory body with very little power. It was turned into the agency you see today after 9/11.

AHHHHHHH Seattle IS a domestic airport.

DSchoen on January 5, 2010 at 3:50 PM

AHHHHHHHHHHH but this was the international side of the airport to get permission to enter the country. I’m talking about you’ll see this just trying to get onto a plane Hoboken to go to Boston…

Skywise on January 5, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Yes I do. Do you know who I am or what I do?
What’s your point?

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Unless you are an independent war reporter who travels around terrorist hotbeds with a fancy camera, you have no reasonable expectation that your experience will be comparable to Michael Yon’s. I think my point was pretty straight-forward. I think you (and a lot of other people here) are sounding logically incoherent and obtuse.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 5:06 PM

And precisely what way is that?

How is Yon any different from an independent contractor working in various countries in the Middle East? With the massive numbers of contractors supporting the … Overseas Contingency Operations … this shouldn’t be that rare.

The question was about income. Not some regular question that might be asked a traveler. Not even some purposeful question posed to someone with extensive travel in some rough areas.

It was a question about income.

Which frankly is the perhaps the most ridiculous question imaginable since it would be nearly impossible for anybody to verify!

memomachine on January 5, 2010 at 5:00 PM

–You don’t know what other questions they asked Yon. If they asked him who he was employed by (which I’ve been asked by US customs, and asked to show my business card in one case) and he said “no one, I’m a consultant/independent reporter”, then the income question makes a lot more sense.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:06 PM

The Socialist Republic Of Seattle. Enough said.

swassociates on January 5, 2010 at 5:07 PM

but Yon’s answer was very typicaly AMERICAN. We are the most stubborn get on our high horse about Governmental intrusion folks in the world.

Yup – noticed that with Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Boxer/Frank/Dodd.
And 53% of Americans voted for massive government intrusion.

failing to answer because its your Constitutional Right not to answer an intrusive Question???? That there is downright American.
Romeo13 on January 5, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Having said the above – I agree with you and I am in the remnant 46%.

Oopsdaisy on January 5, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Jimbo3 and DaveS –the point is–the government will not profile Muslims–who are 100%of the terrorists that have attacked the US since 2001–but they will try to intimidate a respected journalist? This is a Whiskey Tango Fox moment…

lovingmyUSA on January 5, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Do you know who I am or what I do?

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Something to do with the performing arts?

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Jimbo3 and DaveS –the point is–the government will not profile Muslims–who are 100%of the terrorists that have attacked the US since 2001–but they will try to intimidate a respected journalist? This is a Whiskey Tango Fox moment…

lovingmyUSA on January 5, 2010 at 5:11 PM

–How is asking some questions a form of intimidation?

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM

I simply hate TSA, Homeland Security, and this entire mess.

Hate it, hate it, hate it.

AnninCA on January 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Something to do with the performing arts?

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:11 PM

*cough* LOL*

AnninCA on January 5, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Yet another Obama royal screw up!!
Good Lord, can this administration do ANYTHING right?!?!?!!

ToddonCapeCod on January 5, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Given that the agency’s security procedures manual was posted online, it should be easy to verify the *theory* that this question was some kind of ‘gotcha.’ I rather think the idea that the question was supposed to elicit some kind of enlightening response is pretty weak tea.

Occam’s Razor…it’s more likely some TSA guy was trying to look tough rather than try to perform a psychological profile on Michael Yon.

JohnTant on January 5, 2010 at 5:13 PM

If you know who Michael Yon is, then the point of the question becomes moot.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 4:57 PM

What does that mean? Who suggested that the customs officers knew who Michael Yon was?

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 5:04 PM

It means your deflection of asiangirl’s anecdotal experience by way of referring to Yon’s specific line of work is circular. If the question was common and useful, it would apply to all (including Asiangirl), if the security agent actually did possess special knowledge of who Yon was, then the question was useless.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Unless you are an independent war reporter who travels around terrorist hotbeds with a fancy camera, you have no reasonable expectation that your experience will be comparable to Michael Yon’s. I think my point was pretty straight-forward. I think you (and a lot of other people here) are sounding logically incoherent and obtuse.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 5:06 PM

I have a fancy camera and a US passport with lots of stamps in it. I don’t expect to be handcuffed and detained at Sea-Tac for refusing to state my income to immigration.

Is that unreasonable?

Talk about incoherent and obtuse…

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Some TSA guy is not the TSA. I’m not defending that crew, but people in positions of authority abuse that authority thousands of times per day, and this might not be anything more than that. I hope it isn’t anything more than that. Of course we all know that Yon is a hero and deserves a hero’s welcome home, but some TSA guy doesn’t know jack, and probably can sense a man of character from 100 yards and likes nothing more than pushing a man of character’s buttons.

As for the handcuffs, some TSA guy probably was understandably frightened by Yon, even sans weapon, because Yon looks like someone who kills commies for a living and crushes jihadis for a hobby.

Immolate on January 5, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Something to do with the performing arts?

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:11 PM

I’m a dance instructor.

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:16 PM

I’m a dance instructor.

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Best not to elaborate. There are uncouth men here who might take advantage.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:17 PM

then the income question makes a lot more sense.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:06 PM

The question could very well make sense, but so does the answer. So we are left with a handcuffing incident based on a question and answer that both make sense. Seems the handcuffing is the odd thing.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:17 PM

The question could very well make sense, but so does the answer. So we are left with a handcuffing incident based on a question and answer that both make sense. Seems the handcuffing is the odd thing.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Got arrested at the Seattle airport for refusing to say how much money I make

–Looks like his answer was to f**k off. Given that, the detention/handcuffing make sense.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:19 PM

–How is asking some questions a form of intimidation?
Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Are you serious, Jimbo. We’re all tired of the WWII comparisons – but to emphasize the response to your inquiry:

Do you think a few questions from the Gestapo was intimidating to anyone they stopped?

Oopsdaisy on January 5, 2010 at 5:20 PM

And you better not ask if someone’s middle name is “Hussein”. That’s racist!

DaveHusseinS on January 5, 2010 at 5:20 PM

–Looks like his answer was to f**k off. Given that, the detention/handcuffing make sense.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:19 PM

He said he refused to answer. That doesn’t automatically mean he was rude about it.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:21 PM

–How is asking some questions a form of intimidation?

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM
Are you serious, Jimbo. We’re all tired of the WWII comparisons – but to emphasize the response to your inquiry:

Do you think a few questions from the Gestapo was intimidating to anyone they stopped?

Oopsdaisy on January 5, 2010 at 5:20 PM

–I speak nicely to anyone in authority, especially with the government (such as police). It often helps you avoid tickets, arbitrary actions, etc. But there’s no comparison between the TSA/customs and the Gestapo.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Best not to elaborate. There are uncouth men here who might take advantage.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Ballet and Chinese traditional dancing. It drives men wild! :)

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM

–Looks like his answer was to f**k off. Given that, the detention/handcuffing make sense.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:19 PM

c’mon jimbo—-From his FB post….

Michael Yon 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 eve…(tharr be more)ntually came — they were professionals — and rescued me from the border bullies.”

Seems that he’s fully aware of the surveillance and was on good behavior.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Ballet and Chinese traditional dancing. It drives men wild! :)

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM

I’ll bet, especially in tights!

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM

–Looks like his answer was to f**k off. Given that, the detention/handcuffing make sense.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:19 PM
He said he refused to answer. That doesn’t automatically mean he was rude about it.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:21 PM

—A cop asks you for your drivers license. You refuse to give it to him. What’s the next thing to happen 99% of the time (and does the cop probably consider you to be “rude”, “non-compliant”, “resisting authority” and “disrespectful”)?

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM

—A cop asks you for your drivers license. You refuse to give it to him. What’s the next thing to happen 99% of the time (and does the cop probably consider you to be “rude”, “non-compliant”, “resisting authority” and “disrespectful”)?

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Apples and Oranges. A cop has every right to demand the license of the driver of a vehicle.

However…and yes, this has happened to me…a cop (in VA) may not simply go up to a random joe and demand his ID. I’ve refused, the cop called his supervisor, and ended up leaving me alone.

JohnTant on January 5, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Unless there is more to this story,

One of the most colossal understatements in the history of the English language. The Won probably wishes his flunkies had just shot Yon. Then he could offer apologies for the “over zealousness” of the Oba-mao Gestapo. Anyone who stands up to these Chicago-bred, Al Capone wannbes needs to watch their back.

oldleprechaun on January 5, 2010 at 5:28 PM

—A cop asks you for your drivers license. You refuse to give it to him. What’s the next thing to happen 99% of the time (and does the cop probably consider you to be “rude”, “non-compliant”, “resisting authority” and “disrespectful”)?

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM

ummmm….by legislation (you know voted on law) an active LEO has the right to ask for certain specific information while acting under probable cause. I would have very little problem telling a police officer that my income was confidential and that if he needed to know that information he would need a warrant.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:28 PM

—A cop asks you for your drivers license. You refuse to give it to him. What’s the next thing to happen 99% of the time (and does the cop probably consider you to be “rude”, “non-compliant”, “resisting authority” and “disrespectful”)?

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM

If I’m not driving a car, I don’t have to give him my license. I don’t even have to own one. So I don’t get your point here.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:29 PM

I’ll bet, especially in tights!

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM

It’s tights….who needs dancing,lol.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:30 PM

—A cop asks you for your drivers license. You refuse to give it to him. What’s the next thing to happen 99% of the time (and does the cop probably consider you to be “rude”, “non-compliant”, “resisting authority” and “disrespectful”)?

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Police are limited in what they can ask. There is no excuse for what TSA did to him. I’m glad the jerk did it to a national news reporter. Serves him right.

And I hope he immediately loses his lousy job, too.

Bullies have NO place in power over people at TSA. NONE!

AnninCA on January 5, 2010 at 5:31 PM

It’s tights….who needs dancing,lol.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:30 PM

As someone who can’t dance to save her life, I have to agree.

But then I also find that not wearing anything can be just as effective.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:32 PM

But then I also find that not wearing anything can be just as effective.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Thanks a log, now my brothers are asking why I just went and dunked my head under a cold tap.

Dark-Star on January 5, 2010 at 5:36 PM

*lot

Dark-Star on January 5, 2010 at 5:37 PM

But then I also find that not wearing anything can be just as effective.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:32 PM

LOL….cut to the chase eh?

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:38 PM

—A cop asks you for your drivers license. You refuse to give it to him. What’s the next thing to happen 99% of the time (and does the cop probably consider you to be “rude”, “non-compliant”, “resisting authority” and “disrespectful”)?

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM

You’re walking along the street in Anywhere USA. A cop stops and asks you for your passport. You say ‘My passport? None of your business.’ What’s the next thing to happen 99% of the time?

Oh wait, this doesn’t happen, because it makes about as much sense as asking a US passport holder his or her income at the immigration checkpoint.

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Thanks a log, now my brothers are asking why I just went and dunked my head under a cold tap.

Dark-Star on January 5, 2010 at 5:36 PM

freudian slip….

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Just proves the current administration views Americans who don’t agree with them with more contempt than actual terrorists.

StevefromMKE on January 5, 2010 at 5:41 PM

freudian slip….

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Actually, just a finger slip, but I think I can also taste my foot…

Dark-Star on January 5, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Thanks a log, now my brothers are asking why I just went and dunked my head under a cold tap.

Dark-Star on January 5, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Localized global warming?

LOL….cut to the chase eh?

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Well, unintentionally. I’d think he’d be used to it by now.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Oh wait, this doesn’t happen, because it makes about as much sense as asking a US passport holder his or her income at the immigration checkpoint.

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:38 PM

I don’t have a lot of stamps on my passport, but I have never been asked about my income in customs, despite having my carry on bag unpacked and searched. Didn’t mind the extra security precaution, but would have minded the question – it isn’t their damn business.

ladyingray on January 5, 2010 at 5:43 PM

Well, unintentionally. I’d think he’d be used to it by now.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:42 PM

no matter how old we get, we’re always 17 inside :)

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Nobody’s safe from the tentacles of the US Police state. Terrorists are more safe than our citizens because of the “security” operations.

The Dean on January 5, 2010 at 5:46 PM

—A cop asks you for your drivers license. You refuse to give it to him. What’s the next thing to happen 99% of the time (and does the cop probably consider you to be “rude”, “non-compliant”, “resisting authority” and “disrespectful”)?

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Hmmm…. no… its more like a Cop asked him for his license, which he showed him (passport), then asked him where he was going (or what he did for a living, ie pertinent question)…

But then started asking about how much money you make…

There are pertinent questions you need to answer… but it does not give the Police (or TSA) power to ask ANY question…

And if not answering gets you put in handcuffs? I would call that Coercive by definition!

Romeo13 on January 5, 2010 at 5:46 PM

I have a fancy camera and a US passport with lots of stamps in it. I don’t expect to be handcuffed and detained at Sea-Tac for refusing to state my income to immigration.

Is that unreasonable?

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:15 PM

No, nor is it uncommon. Michael Yon’s profile is very, very, very uncommon, which is why it is absurd to think that he wouldn’t be asked something simply because you weren’t. Which was, of course, the point have I made over and over and over in our discourse.

It means your deflection of asiangirl’s anecdotal experience by way of referring to Yon’s specific line of work is circular. If the question was common and useful, it would apply to all (including Asiangirl), if the security agent actually did possess special knowledge of who Yon was, then the question was useless.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Are you people kidding me? The only reason Yon was pulled aside was because of his unique profile. They don’t just walk up and down screening lines asking people probing questions. Good god almighty…

Jimbo3 and DaveS –the point is–the government will not profile Muslims–who are 100%of the terrorists that have attacked the US since 2001–but they will try to intimidate a respected journalist?
lovingmyUSA on January 5, 2010 at 5:11 PM

On what basis are you claiming that Yon wouldn’t have received the same treatment if he was a Muslim?

There is no excuse for what TSA did to him. …
Bullies have NO place in power over people at TSA. NONE!

AnninCA on January 5, 2010 at 5:31 PM

There is no evidence that it was TSA. Scant evidence thus far (“border bullies”) points to customs and border, who’s job is to check people, their belongings, etc., and use behavioral profiling.

It was behavioral profiling by customs and border officers in 1999 that caught the “Millennium Bomber” at the Canadian border. This isn’t rare. I’m actually shocked that so many people here are arguing with what I would think was common knowledge.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 5:47 PM

–How is asking some questions a form of intimidation?

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM

It isn’t. Detaining someone for providing an answer not satisfactory to an officer, however, is. The question then becomes was the intimidation justified?

anuts on January 5, 2010 at 5:49 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?

spot on Ed!

priorities….unfreakingbelievable

cmsinaz on January 5, 2010 at 5:51 PM

It was behavioral profiling by customs and border officers in 1999 that caught the “Millennium Bomber” at the Canadian border. This isn’t rare. I’m actually shocked that so many people here are arguing with what I would think was common knowledge.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Granted, I haven’t had as many encounters with customs and border agent as Yon has had, but I have never been asked a single question about my income. And yes, all of the encounters were after 9/11.

ladyingray on January 5, 2010 at 5:52 PM

So, one of the best war-correspondents (and ex-military guy) we’ve ever had gets treated like crap coming into The Yes We Can Amerika … yeah, this is some great Change all right.

shades_of_gasden on January 5, 2010 at 5:54 PM

On what basis are you claiming that Yon wouldn’t have received the same treatment if he was a Muslim?

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 5:47 PM

I think it may have something to do with comparing a ‘red flag’ of failing to report income to an officer unrelated to the Treasury Department and the apparently many ‘non red flags’ our most recent situation with the “potty-jihadi”.

anuts on January 5, 2010 at 5:57 PM

It was behavioral profiling by customs and border officers in 1999 that caught the “Millennium Bomber” at the Canadian border. This isn’t rare. I’m actually shocked that so many people here are arguing with what I would think was common knowledge.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Behavior profiling sounds so much more official than “gut feeling”….which is how the Border officer characterized it at the time.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:57 PM

No, nor is it uncommon. Michael Yon’s profile is very, very, very uncommon, which is why it is absurd to think that he wouldn’t be asked something simply because you weren’t. Which was, of course, the point have I made over and over and over in our discourse.

I know you’ve made your dull point over and over again.
The point is you miss the point that the point isn’t that the question was asked. The point of debate is the apparently unreasonable response to his refusal to answer a question that really has nothing to do with US security.

Or was your point that Americans should reasonably expect to get arrested for refusing to answer whatever random personal questions they happen to receive from government employees?

Is that the libertarian view now?

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Didn’t mind the extra security precaution, but would have minded the question – it isn’t their damn business.

ladyingray on January 5, 2010 at 5:43 PM

When I came back recently, I was asked how much money I had on me. I was a little annoyed, especially because the guy didn’t even try to check, so I didn’t get the impression that my answer actually mattered.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:57 PM

I speak nicely to anyone in authority, especially with the government (such as police). It often helps you avoid tickets, arbitrary actions, etc

And you imply Yon didn’t?

- Anyway, I fail to see your point above concerning this:

How is asking some questions a form of intimidation

Lastly,

But there’s no comparison between the TSA/customs and the Gestapo.
Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Pretty much the same tactics – unnecessary bullying. obviously on a much smaller scale (just airports – and no one is getting shot or sent to camps – yet).

My point was to answer you question – as to “How is asking some questions a form of intimidation.”

And to go back to your being “nice” – just how far are you willing to be “nice”? – How about – What is your waist size? – What style undershorts are you wearing? What is your wife/girlfriend’s waist size? What size bra does she wear?

Just wondering if you have a line in the sand? – Yon did. Look what happened.

Oopsdaisy on January 5, 2010 at 5:58 PM

They don’t just walk up and down screening lines asking people probing questions.

You are correct…they don’t go walking up and down the screening lines.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Granted, I haven’t had as many encounters with customs and border agent as Yon has had, but I have never been asked a single question about my income. And yes, all of the encounters were after 9/11.

ladyingray on January 5, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Again, I suspect that Yon’s line of work and travel history was a bit more… er, “interesting” than yours. It may simply be that they didn’t know how to properly question him about his profession (which isn’t common)… the question surely wasn’t to actually find out what his income was–that would be completely pointless–but to see if he responded in a way that gave credibility to his story or in a way that raised suspicion. Or, it could be that an unprofessional questioner thought it was cool and asked him what sort of income that kind of thing could make.

The point is, nobody knows, and you people are hysterically overreacting.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:01 PM

no matter how old we get, we’re always 17 inside :)

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 5:46 PM

That’s somewhat comforting as a constant actually.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 6:02 PM

When I came back recently, I was asked how much money I had on me. I was a little annoyed, especially because the guy didn’t even try to check, so I didn’t get the impression that my answer actually mattered.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:57 PM

There is a question on the customs form that asks if you are carrying $10,000 or more with you and a statement that it must be declared if so. This seems an appropriate question, since it is just verifying what you’ve already written on the form that you’ve just handed in.

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 6:03 PM

There is a question on the customs form that asks if you are carrying $10,000 or more with you and a statement that it must be declared if so. This seems an appropriate question, since it is just verifying what you’ve already written on the form that you’ve just handed in.

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 6:03 PM

Eh, I didn’t have to fill that out. They only needed one per family, so I submitted to the man.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 6:06 PM

That’s somewhat comforting as a constant actually.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 6:02 PM

It was meant that way…immaturity can have it’s good points :)

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 6:07 PM

The point of debate is the apparently unreasonable response to his refusal to answer a question that really has nothing to do with US security.

Or was your point that Americans should reasonably expect to get arrested for refusing to answer whatever random personal questions they happen to receive from government employees?

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:57 PM

You have no idea why he was “arrested” (which he says he wasn’t).

What you are arguing is that anyone who has a valid passport and who is an American citizen should be able to freely enter the country without any probing, possibly personal, questioning or searching–even if they have a very unique and very, very suspicious profile. This is unreasonable. I’m sorry that you don’t understand how unreasonable it is, but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do to explain it to you.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:07 PM

Ballet and Chinese traditional dancing. It drives men wild! :)

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM

If I were single, I’d propose on that alone, sight unseen.

A woman who understands beauty is by definition a beautiful woman.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on January 5, 2010 at 6:08 PM

As someone who can’t dance to save her life, I have to agree.

But then I also find that not wearing anything can be just as effective.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Considering the subject of this thread, proof please. Of course refusal on your part means cuff time. (slightly evil, but anticipatory grin)

Yoop on January 5, 2010 at 6:08 PM

When I came back recently, I was asked how much money I had on me. I was a little annoyed, especially because the guy didn’t even try to check, so I didn’t get the impression that my answer actually mattered.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:57 PM

There is a question on the customs form that asks if you are carrying $10,000 or more with you and a statement that it must be declared if so. This seems an appropriate question, since it is just verifying what you’ve already written on the form that you’ve just handed in.

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 6:03 PM

This is primarily a Tax question related to evasion of Import duties.

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 6:08 PM

This is unreasonable. I’m sorry that you don’t understand how unreasonable it is, but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do to explain it to you.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:07 PM

Actually it’s not unreasonable. For that to be unreasonable one would have make a somewhat compelling argument that income knowledge is somehow relevant to the task of the TSA. At this point, there is none.

anuts on January 5, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Joe the Plumber.

Mike the Truth Revealer.

davidk on January 5, 2010 at 6:11 PM

When I came back recently, I was asked how much money I had on me. I was a little annoyed, especially because the guy didn’t even try to check, so I didn’t get the impression that my answer actually mattered.

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 5:57 PM

–It’s illegal to bring in more than $10,000. You have to declare that on the customs form and there are money laundering laws that also apply.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 6:13 PM

You have no idea why he was “arrested” (which he says he wasn’t). What you are arguing is that anyone who has a valid passport and who is an American citizen should be able to freely enter the country without any probing, possibly personal, questioning or searching–even if they have a very unique and very, very suspicious profile. This is unreasonable. I’m sorry that you don’t understand how unreasonable it is, but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do to explain it to you.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:07 PM

Geez, calm down.

The problem isn’t that they asked questions. The problem is that he was detained and handcuffed for refusing to answer a question that has no bearing on security.

If there were some grounds for suspicion checking his luggage and person would be reasonable perhaps. Handcuffing and detention for refusing to answer what his income was is not.

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Fighton03 on January 5, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Ballet and Chinese traditional dancing. It drives men wild! :)

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Ex-girlfriend in college was a bellydancer. Fond memories.

Holger on January 5, 2010 at 6:15 PM

The point is, nobody knows, and you people are hysterically overreacting.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Ahh, the racist finally shows his true colors….

DaveHusseinS on January 5, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Actually it’s not unreasonable. For that to be unreasonable one would have make a somewhat compelling argument that income knowledge is somehow relevant to the task of the TSA. At this point, there is none.

anuts on January 5, 2010 at 6:11 PM

If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t respond to me (preferably ever again, about any topic). If you simply aren’t capable of understanding the concept of asking a question simply to observe the behavior of the respondent, then you aren’t able to have this conversation.

That said… Big Government has an interview with him, and it was indeed TSA (not customs), and I agree with Yon’s statement here:

Regarding the incident in Seattle, Yon was adamant the TSA agents had overstepped their bounds: “If I am the guy on that passport and I don’t have any contraband in my luggage, it is a matter for the FBI, not the TSA.”

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:16 PM

What you are arguing is that anyone who has a valid passport and who is an American citizen should be able to freely enter the country without any probing, possibly personal, questioning or searching–even if they have a very unique and very, very suspicious profile. This is unreasonable. I’m sorry that you don’t understand how unreasonable it is, but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do to explain it to you.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:07 PM

I suppose there is a fine technical distinction between being handcuffed and detained and being arrested. +1.

When you next come through customs and refuse to answer what size underwear you have on do you suppose it will be reasonable to handcuff you if you refuse to answer? In light of recent events that seems a more reasonable question that what your income is.

What’s your libertarian view on that?

AsianGirlInTights on January 5, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Considering the subject of this thread, proof please. Of course refusal on your part means cuff time. (slightly evil, but anticipatory grin)

Yoop on January 5, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Heh. I suppose I’d have to own tights for that.

–It’s illegal to bring in more than $10,000. You have to declare that on the customs form and there are money laundering laws that also apply.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 6:13 PM

That’s fine and all, but if he’s just going to take my word for it, why even bother?

Esthier on January 5, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Those fools should be tarred and feathered.

chicagojedi on January 5, 2010 at 6:18 PM

and you people are hysterically overreacting.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:01 PM

And you people are being blindly led to totalitarianism.

Questions, even stupid questions, are one thing. False arrest is another thing entirely.

(And anyone who think the thugs in the MackDaddy admin aren’t up to this kind of harrassemnt of a private citisen is frightenly mistaken.)

davidk on January 5, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Jimbo3 and DaveS –the point is–the government will not profile Muslims–who are 100%of the terrorists that have attacked the US since 2001–but they will try to intimidate a respected journalist?
lovingmyUSA on January 5, 2010 at 5:11 PM

On what basis are you claiming that Yon wouldn’t have received the same treatment if he was a Muslim?

The fact that they don’t profile…pulling a little old white haired lady aside is proof. Putting handcuffs on a respected correspondent is proof, and allowing a terrorist to get on a plane w/o a passport is proof…need more…?

lovingmyUSA on January 5, 2010 at 6:19 PM

Did Hotair reopen comment sign ups this week? Because it seems like there’s a large portion of people around here who are talking out of their ass and going far out on a limb to try and defend the morons at the airport.

I doubt they knew who Yon was, but did you expect anything less now? The government is so reactive, they’ll start taking in every person who has traveled to more than one country to interrogate (except those who may get CAIR or the ACLU to represent them later)

Rbastid on January 5, 2010 at 6:21 PM

The fact that they don’t profile…pulling a little old white haired lady aside is proof. Putting handcuffs on a respected correspondent is proof, and allowing a terrorist to get on a plane w/o a passport is proof…need more…?

lovingmyUSA on January 5, 2010 at 6:19 PM

We aren’t talking about randomly pulling aside people for extra screening of shoes or carry-ons. We’re talking about customs pulling people aside AFTER THEY ARRIVE IN THE COUNTRY because their profile almost certainly puts them somewhere in the most suspicious 0.5% of the flying population.

To be clear, it is now known that Yon was being questioned by the TSA, which is clearly out of line. I’m still talking about the general principle of Customs and Border enforcement, which was the assumption before it was confirmed to be TSA.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:25 PM

who is an American citizen should be able to freely enter the country without any probing, possibly personal, questioning or searching–even if they have a very unique and very, very suspicious profile.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:07 PM

American citizen, on American Soil, where the Constitution is still in effect?

Yes, he has every reason to expect to have the RIGHT to go about his business, unless there is “reasonable” cause.

He has the RIGHT not to speak, its inherent in the Right of Free Speech. He also has the RIGHT not to answer questions he may think are incriminating. Heck, he even has the RIGHT to have an attorney present if questioned by Authorities (you ALWAYS have Miranda Rights…).

He has the RIGHT to enter this country, as a citizen, and that RIGHT cannot be taken away without due process of law.

The TSA has the POWE

Romeo13 on January 5, 2010 at 6:25 PM

If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t respond to me (preferably ever again, about any topic). If you simply aren’t capable of understanding the concept of asking a question simply to observe the behavior of the respondent, then you aren’t able to have this conversation.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Again, it is simply not asking the question that is the egregious part of this story for the very reason you cite. Your understanding of my capabilities therefore are meaningless in the manner of which you’re concerned. What, in your estimation, would one observe in another’s behavior by telling them, in essence, it’s none of their business?

At some point it might be wise to get beyond the ‘asking a question’ phase of this story.

anuts on January 5, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Sorry… hit the wrong button…

The TSA has the POWER to ask questions… but not the Power to take away your RIGHTS.

Romeo13 on January 5, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Was the individual who asked Yon such stupid questions ……a muslim?
Or an Obama voter ?

macncheez on January 5, 2010 at 6:34 PM

Yet another Obama royal screw up!!
Good Lord, can this administration do ANYTHING right?!?!?!!

ToddonCapeCod on January 5, 2010 at 5:13 PM

The only thing they do is pass blame and NEVER accept responsibility..soooooo, they are wrong on that count.

That makes the answer to your question is NO.

dthorny on January 5, 2010 at 6:36 PM

–It’s illegal to bring in more than $10,000. You have to declare that on the customs form and there are money laundering laws that also apply.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Not quite right. You can enter with any cash amount so long as you declare it and can verify it’s source and purpose. Auto buyers from Mexico enter the US with upwards of $70,000 regularly to buy cars at auction for sale in Mexico. I’ve met a few at charity auctions. They grumble a bit about it but the criteria for entry is easy for them to meet so long as they are legitimate.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on January 5, 2010 at 6:37 PM

At some point it might be wise to get beyond the ‘asking a question’ phase of this story.

anuts on January 5, 2010 at 6:26 PM

You need to realize that DaveS has dug a hole so deep he can’t see out of it anymore. Therefore moving on to the actual point of the story is probably next to impossible.

Yoop on January 5, 2010 at 6:37 PM

American citizen, on American Soil, where the Constitution is still in effect?
Romeo13 on January 5, 2010 at 6:25 PM

The Constitution is definitely in effect for KSM and Abdulmutallab – As to American citizens – that seems to be the debate here…….

Oopsdaisy on January 5, 2010 at 6:38 PM

He apparently got nailed by TSA while transiting SEA-TAC on his way from Hong Kong to his home. He had just arrived in the USA from Hong Kong (I presume he had to leave the restricted area of the airport to go to another terminal, and had to be re-screened.

So, he had just passed through Customs, and was cleared. A year ago he wrote an account of a friend who was forced (coerced, under color of authority) to reveal her email password so TSA goons could read emails from her to him….No doubt that got him on the TSA shitlist.

It used to be said not to get into an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel. These days, it’s pretty stupid to get into an argument with a well-known blogger, especially for the Too Slooow for Arby’s TSA morons.

HBowmanMD on January 5, 2010 at 6:38 PM

If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t respond to me (preferably ever again, about any topic). If you simply aren’t capable of understanding the concept of asking a question simply to observe the behavior of the respondent, then you aren’t able to have this conversation.
DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Typical STFU intollerance–you have danced around the whole point that everyone had made, even though they have made it reapeatedly, and with respect. It is obviously YOU who isn’t capable of understanding that the question was not apppropriate, nor was the treatment afterwards. It is intrusive and invasive.
What most of us are upset with is that a respected journalist was handcuffed for not answering a question that didn’t pertain to security.
Using the argument that the agent wanted to “observe” him is silly and baseless, as he had already asked him questions and seen his passport…and knew what his profession was–I am sure that Yon provided his correspondent credientials.

Oh I forgot–it is white, ex-military, war correspondents that want to blow up a US plane…there’s your logic–I explained it for you!

lovingmyUSA on January 5, 2010 at 6:40 PM

You’re right, Brian. You can bring in more than $10K if you declare it.

Jimbo3 on January 5, 2010 at 6:44 PM

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:25 PM

None of us have been objecting to questioning, it was the nature of one question, for which Yon was pulled aside and cuffed for not answering…Good grief man–you have been barking up the wrong tree the whole damn thread!!!!

lovingmyUSA on January 5, 2010 at 6:46 PM

What most of us are upset with is that a respected journalist was handcuffed for not answering a question that didn’t pertain to security.

For probably the 10th time, you have no idea why he was handcuffed. You have one side of the story, and very few details. But, as I have pointed out many times, the question could easily have been asked for security reasons (but no reason that I can think of by the TSA).

Since you all have apparently confused yourselves through illogical obfuscation, let me sum up…

If you are arguing “I am upset that he was arrested for refusing to answer a personal question!”, my response is You don’t know why he was “arrested” (which he wasn’t). We don’t have the details, but if that’s why he was cuffed then, yeah, its pretty stupid. But given the details we have, you are hysterically overreacting.

If you are arguing “That question is stupid. It is not for security, and I have never been asked it when I flew to visit my mother-in-law in a major travel destination country”, my response is The question could be very useful as a behavioral profiling tool when questioning someone with a travel profile that is among the most suspicious possible in terms of terrorism, who claims to have an unverifiable and fantastical profession. You were probably never asked it because you never traveled from terrorism hotbed nations while claiming to have one of the rarest professions in the world, or if you did there may have been more obvious questions about your work to observe your behavior because you claimed a more common profession.

DaveS on January 5, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Would the converse be akin to having a question on a 1040 that may resemble the following:

11e. Do you have any flamables or any liquids on your person?

And if so, would DaveS find it within or without reason if the IRS reacts in a not so friendly manner if you refuse to answer? Afterall, it’s just a question…

anuts on January 5, 2010 at 6:51 PM

I thought the GROWN UPS were in charge?

Oy vey es mere. I am so bloody angry at the dopes whom voted this administration in. It’s funny and yet not funny at the same time.

Gob on January 5, 2010 at 6:55 PM

ummmm….by legislation (you know voted on law) an active LEO has the right to ask for certain specific information while acting under probable cause. I would have very little problem telling a police officer that my income was confidential and that if he needed to know that information he would need a warrant.

They can ask you to identify yourself. That doesn’t require you to give them any ‘identity papers’. If you say your name is Joe Blow and you live at 123 Mockingbird Lane, thats enough to identify yourself.

HBowmanMD on January 5, 2010 at 6:58 PM

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