British Tourists Deported Over Twitter Jokes

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 01, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you've been making anti-American jokes on Twitter, it's time to stop. The Department of Homeland Security may be after you.

British tourists Leigh Van Bryan, 26, and Emily Bunting, 24, were stopped at Los Angeles International Airport last week after going through customs. Agents arrested the pair and interrogated them for 12 hours.

They were then deported over Twitter jokes.

Those jokes were made by Bryan, who tweeted at a friend, "Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?"

He was trying to make plans before he went on vacation. "Destroy" is slang for "party," according to the New York Times.

Federal agents didn't believe his explanation, or that he didn't really plan to be "diggin' Marilyn Monroe up" while here, reports ABC News. Investigators apparently asked Bunting if she was going to be Bryan's lookout while he went for the body.

Okay, so you probably already knew that the Department of Homeland Security lacks a sense of humor. But how did it find these joking Tweets?

No one knows, but the department does have an office that focuses on "Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness." It's also working on an application that would scan social media for certain key words and phrases, according to the New York Times.

Though U.S. citizens can't be deported over Twitter jokes, they can be hauled in for questioning if picked up by this scanning application. So be careful what you Tweet or share on social media.

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