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Couple Barred From US After Tweet   
 
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01-Feb-2012  
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Post-9/11 USA is highly cautious of any perceived threat, Abta said
Holidaymakers have been warned to watch their words after two friends
were refused entry to the US on security grounds after a tweet.

Before his trip, Leigh Van Bryan wrote that he was going to "destroy America".

He insisted he was referring to simply having a good time - but was sent home. Trade association Abta told the BBC that the case highlighted that holidaymakers should never do anything to raise "concern or suspicion in any way".

The US Department for Homeland Security picked up Mr Bryan's messages
ahead of his holiday in Los Angeles. The 26-year-old bar manager wrote a message to a friend on the micro-blogging service, saying: "Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America."

The Irish national told the Sun newspaper that he and his friend Emily Bunting were apprehended on arrival at Los Angeles International Airport before being sent home. "The Homeland Security agents were treating me like some kind of terrorist," Mr Bryan said.

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

No joke

Abta, which represents travel companies in the UK, said holidaymakers
need to learn to be ultra-cautious when it comes to talking about
forthcoming trips, particularly after 9/11.

"Posting statements in a public forum which could be construed as
threatening - in this case saying they are going to "destroy"
somewhere - will not be viewed sympathetically by US authorities," it
told the BBC.

"In the past we have seen holidaymakers stopped at airport security
for 'joking' that they have a bomb in their bag, thoroughly questioned and ending up missing their flights, demonstrating that airport security staff do not have a sense of humour when it comes to
potential risk."

In another tweet, Mr Bryan made reference to comedy show Family Guy
saying that he would be in LA in three weeks, annoying people "and
diggin' Marilyn Monroe up".

Mr Bryan told the newspaper that he was questioned for five hours
about his Twitter messages.

'Tweeter account'

After the interview, Homeland Security's reported: "Mr Bryan confirmed that he had posted on his Tweeter website account that he was coming to the United States to dig up the grave of Marilyn Monroe.

"Also on his tweeter account Mr Bryan posted he was coming to destroy America."

Paul Chambers was fined after posting a message about Robin Hood Airport. The US Customs and Border Protection agency said in a statement that it tried to maintain a balance between "securing our borders while facilitating the high volume of legitimate trade and travel that crosses our borders every day".

It added: "We strive to achieve that balance and show the world that
the United States is a welcoming nation."

Mr Bryan is not the only person to suffer from a misjudged tweet. In
January 2010, Paul Chambers tweeted that he would blow snow-affected
Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster "sky high!" if it was not reopened in
time for him to see his girlfriend.
 
 
Source: bbc
 
 

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