War reporter Michael Yon wants answers on Seattle Airport arrest, supports ALG FOIA request

Published: 02 April 2010
FROM: Americans for Limited Government


April 1st, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Michael Yon continues to question why he was arrested upon arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for his refusal to answer a question about how much money he makes.

Commenting yesterday on his Facebook page about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) appeal filed with the USCBP by the group Americans for Limited Government (ALG), Yon wrote, “Does the United States government have a right to arrest people for refusing to say who they work for, and how much money they earn? They arrested me. Why were Customs (CBP) people reading my private documents at the border? Is it possible to have words written on paper that are illegal? My arrest at Sea-Tac airport remains unexplained.”

ALG filed its original FOIA request to CBP one day following the arrest of the acclaimed Afghan war journalist the day following the January 5th, 2010 incident. It was denied on March 1st, and an appeal was mailed on March 31st.

The ALG FOIA request seeks to determine the circumstances around the incident including any policies or instructions that are provided to agents related to appropriate questions that should be asked of incoming citizens.

Ironically, the initial FOIA was denied just two weeks before the Obama Administration’s self-proclaimed “Sunshine Week”, where they applauded themselves for the work that has been done to increase transparency.

ALG President Bill Wilson said that the CBP denial of the FOIA request was “unwarranted,” concluding, “The American people have a right to know if citizens are going to be locked in handcuffs as a matter of national policy for not disclosing their income to Customs and Border Patrol when entering their homeland.”


Mr. Yon’s original Facebook feed

Mr. Yon’s March 31st Facebook feed

Obama Admin. release on FOIA’s and “Sunshine Week”

Original Yon FOIA request.

CBP Denial of FOIA.

Yon FOIA request appeal.

This article was originally posted on the Get Liberty Website. Please click to view the original article.



# Scott Dudley 2010-04-02 01:19
Surely, in my mind, what happened to Michael at SEATAC was wrong. However, the article above is out of line. The second paragraph in the denial letter clearly explains that ALG failed to provide necessary documentation to obtain records of the event. They were advised what to file and where to file in the denial letter. This regulation is in place to protect Michael's and everyone else's privacy. Reasonable. I expect that information has been provided and the request refiled. To imply that this somehow reflects badly on Obama's sunshine week is disengenuous at best. The regulations followed were put in effect in a previous administration. The above article stinks of partisan politics. I believe I know Michael well enough thru his writings that he is and should be above that.

Go get 'em, Michael.
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# Michael Yon in Kandahar 2010-04-02 02:18

Your points are valid. My getting arrested didn't seem to have anything to do with President Obama, but simple Border Bullies trampling over peoples' rights. (Clearly for many people it's a political issue -- for me it's about personal liberty. STOP.)

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# Jim Growney 2010-04-02 03:50
Give em hell, Michael. Your leadership in this particular issue is of keen interest to me, as I travel frequently.
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# Scott Dudley 2010-04-02 04:46
We've all run into petty bureaucrats both within and outside the military. Ideally, some heads will roll and some policy changes will ensue.

They screwed with the wrong traveler.
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# Scott Greb 2010-04-02 05:43
Not to be picky but did anybody else notcie the date issues in the Original Yon FOIA request? The year kept switching between 2009 and 2010 throughout the PDF.
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# Nathan Mehrens 2010-04-02 06:13
The date issue referenced above was a typo.
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# Johnson 76 2010-04-02 11:17
This may of been a pre-Census campaign attempt, perhaps the big bad wolf wants to get it's dinner the instance people touch it's shores ?
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# Arlene in CA 2010-04-02 13:09
Some of the Census forms have the "income question". I personally know several people who have returned their Census forms with the income question left blank. Wonder if they'll be arrested? They believe it is none of Big Brother's business. They cannot get a satisfactory answer from the Census Bureau as to WHY that question is being asked. Johnson 76 may be on to something here. It may very well be related to Obama's "redistribution of wealth". The agency who would be best prepared to redistribute that wealth? The IRS.
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# GUNNER 2010-04-02 17:25
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# elric 2010-04-02 22:49
Wrong. Just [censored] wrong.
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# Virginia Gentleman 2010-04-02 22:50
Tyrants draw their strength from the petty bureaucrats who hold positions like these CBP goons at Sea-Tac. Between questions like this and searching grandmothers in wheelchairs it is marvel the nation is safe at all. Go get 'em, Michael!
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# Scott Dudley 2010-04-03 03:10
IRS hires have nothing to dow with DHS.
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# Reverend D.C. Quick 2010-04-03 18:50
Horrible and disgusting trampling of your civil rights. What is our country coming to? Fortunately we have a few good men willing to stand up for what the Founders provided for us all. Bravo and good luck. Keep us posted as to whether a legal fund will be necessary.
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# Valerie 2010-04-19 12:30
What with what has been happening to us as a nation, and as a result of the BHO administration directly, it seems understandable people would have a bit of an attitude accompanied with a healthy suspicion regarding bureaucrats. Mr. Dudly (Do Right?) seems to hankering to be running shotgun for you, Michael, but fortunately it is you who is read. Your assessement was fair and just to dismiss blame on BO, but then it's fair and just to blame the current head our our government for this mess we are all dealing with. You will, most likely run into other issues which you, being the capable person you are, will deal with in a forthright and fair manner. It is still a country whereby we speak up should our rights be trampled upon and your comments are always read with great interest. We appreciate you.
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