Irish tourist barred from US over joke "destroy America" tweet
An Irishman and his friend were both denied entry to the US after joking tweets over their plans to "destroy America" meant that they were flagged as a security risk by anti-terror agents.
26-year-old Leigh Van Bryan, originally from Youghal, Co. Cork but now living in England, and friend Emily Banting, 24, were questioned for five hours and locked up overnight after touching down at Los Angeles International Airport.
US Homeland Security viewed Coventry bar manager Leigh and pal Emily as potential threats after viewing a tweet from Leigh to his friend that read: “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p****** people of in Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!”
A second tweet caused further alarm, as Leigh wrote to a friend: “Free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?”
Having obviously misconstrued the drunken meaning of ‘destroy’, the Department of Homeland Security have since declined to comment on the incident, but Leigh had plenty to say over his ordeal.
“It’s almost funny now but at the time it was really scary,” a relieved Leigh told The Sun.
“The Homeland Security agents were treating me like some kind of terrorist. I was handcuffed and put in a cage in the vans.
“Then I was shoved in a cell with two huge Mexicans who’d been arrested for having cocaine.”