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Award winning war correspondent Michael Yon was detained and handcuffed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Yesterday by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel.
Yon was returning to the United States from Hong Kong to visit family when TSA officials stopped him during a routine security checkpoint. “Officials asked me what was in my bag—nothing wrong with this question,” Yon said in an interview with BigGovernment.com. “I told them it was normal stuff, clothes and toothbrushes.”
At this point the TSA officials escorted Yon to a designated screening area where they examined the contents of his bag. “Then they asked me how much money I make,” Yon said. Yon suggested to the TSA officials that the question was inappropriate and unrelated to transportation security. The award-winning blogger noted another TSA officer approached Yon: “he asked who do I work for.” ”I did not answer the question which clearly was upsetting to the TSA officers.”
Yon was escorted to a room elsewhere in the airport where he said he remained silent during much of the questioning. According to Yon, “they handcuffed me for failing to cooperate. They said I was impeding their ability to do their job.”
Yon described the TSA officials as noticeably frustrated by his refusal to answer their questions: “I always assume everything is being recorded. I was trying to be professional.”
Yon continued, “They said I wasn’t under arrest, but I’m handcuffed. In any other country, that qualifies as an arrest.”
In January of 2009, Yon’s article “Border Bullies” detailed a Homeland Security officer coercing a friend to give up her e-mail password so that he could read private email correspondences between her and Yon.
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.”