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September 14, 2010

Banned for Life??? Really?

I've commented before on our thin skinned president's inability to ignore criticism, but this is just too funny for words:

A BRIT teen who sent an email to the White House calling President Obama a "p***k" has been banned from America FOR LIFE.

The furious FBI asked local cops to tell college student Luke Angel, 17, his drunken insult was "unacceptable". Luke yesterday admitted he fired off a single email criticising the US Government after seeing a TV programme about 9/11.

He said: "I don't remember exactly what I wrote as I was drunk. But I think I called Barack Obama a p***k. It was silly - the sort of thing you do when you're a teenager and have had a few."

Luke, of Silsoe, Beds, said it was "a bit extreme" for the FBI to act.

He added: "The police came and took my picture and told me I was banned from America forever. I don't really care but my parents aren't very happy."

More and more, this president is turning out to be everything George Bush was accused of being... and was not.

Posted by Cassandra at September 14, 2010 09:09 AM

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Comments

Banned for life for calling Xerxes a prick? And exactly which federal law was it that was broken -- thereby requiring the attention of the FBI? Maybe he should have prefaced his comment with "I believe" and make it a matter of religion.
If this were my family, my child would not have said one word to the FBI until I had an attorney in the room with us, and I would begin planning the family vacation to the Grand Canyon.....
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at September 14, 2010 10:41 AM

Yeah, I'm sure Barry personally ordered the DHS to ban the kid because The One reads every single email and letter sent to him, just like Santa Clause.

Posted by: Craig at September 14, 2010 10:51 AM

...I'm sure Barry personally ordered the DHS to ban the kid because The One reads every single email and letter sent to him, just like Santa Clause.

Someone turned the letter over to the FBI. Next I suppose you'll argue next that the White House had nothing to do with that? Or perhaps that Obama has no idea what goes on there and can't control his own staff?

Keep on spinnin', Craig. It's amusing.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 14, 2010 11:03 AM

Perhaps Luke, of Silsoe, Beds, should become a terrorist. That way he'll have access to the US court system to defend his constitutional rights.

Has anybody else noticed that the Justice Department isn't these days?

Posted by: spd rdr at September 14, 2010 11:09 AM

I'm sure every threatening email gets turned over to the FBI, not just ones from druken teenagers.

Posted by: Craig at September 14, 2010 11:18 AM

Posted by: Cassandra at September 14, 2010 11:35 AM

Maybe.

Posted by: Craig at September 14, 2010 11:50 AM

It does seem rather a stretch to take it as the "default" position/assumption that Obama had any fore-knowledge of the matter, much less that he had any role in the action / message ("banned for life!") which was reportedly conveyed by the FBI. Of course, those who think Obama the Devil, or who think him dense-beyond-measure might well immediately disagree. To me, the warning has that aroma of lowish-level (and heavy-browwed) security functionary to it . . . At least in the absence of credible evidence to the contrary . . .

That, however, is a very different narrative . . . and one not nearly so entertaining to certain observers and thread-starters (etc.) Plus ça change; in some blogs as in "life", "if it bleeds, it leads".

Posted by: pond at September 14, 2010 11:54 AM

More and more, this president is turning out to be everything George Bush was accused of being... and was not.

And more and more, he's turning out to be everything the Left said he *wasn't*.

Anybody else see a pattern, here?

Posted by: BillT at September 14, 2010 12:00 PM

Well one can adopt the view that in every bureacracy there are certain idiots at low levels that count on their fingers. And so Obama didn't know what his thugs were doing.

On the other hand, this is the same White House that, faced with Tea Parties in the summer of 2009, set up a "somethingfishy.gov" website. Linda Douglas, a formerly honorable journalist, was in charge of a program to collect "fishy misstatements" about the healthcare bill.

And just two days ago Katherine Sibelius, Secretary of HHS sent a letter threatening health insurance companies about "misstatements".

If you don't agree with President Dildo (another five letter word, much like p@#$k) then his minions may come down hard on you.

Whether you accept it or not, this is a distinct change from the previous administration.

Posted by: Mike Myers at September 14, 2010 12:02 PM

...much less that he had any role in the action / message ("banned for life!") which was reportedly conveyed by the FBI.

There had to have been a credible threat -- as in, *credible* -- that was also conveyed in the e-mail for the FBI to issue that ban. By the accounts so far, the action was the result of the "abusive" rather than the "threatening" language.

Posted by: BillT at September 14, 2010 12:09 PM

I think people are ignoring that (if we can trust the Sun article) FBI agents felt it necessary to contact a minor in a foreign country and ban him from the U.S. for life.

This isn't an investigation (which I would totally understand). Nor is it a polite warn-off (agents show up to assess the situation personally and deter further silliness).

It's the representatives of a foreign power showing up at some kid's house in a foreign country and taking punitive action (and if you don't think banning someone for life from visiting the U.S. is punitive, I don't even know what to say about that).

If I were Obama, I'd be upset and would be taking affirmative steps to correct the situation. I really don't think that's the image his administration wants to project abroad. Though clearly Craig is down with it :p

Posted by: Cassandra at September 14, 2010 12:26 PM

More and more, this president is turning out to be everything George Bush was accused of being... and was not.

Not unexpected. By me at least.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 14, 2010 12:26 PM

pond, "entertaining", like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

This is a man who felt it necessary to hold a beer summit over a local police matter that had absolutely NOTHING to do with the federal government.

This is a guy who feels it necessary to respond to random criticism from talk show hosts, for Pete's sake. :p

Posted by: Cassandra at September 14, 2010 12:28 PM

Pond and craig.

They're not going to pay you what they said they were going to pay you to act as informants in the soon to be police state. I hope you know that.

If I were Obama, I'd be upset and would be taking affirmative steps to correct the situation.

The President, not Obama. If you were Obama, you'd smile at crushing the weak.

Though clearly Craig is down with it

Must come with the cult membership.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 14, 2010 12:31 PM

I really don't think that's the image his administration wants to project abroad.

Except in Britain -- the Brits were mean to his dad.

Posted by: BillT at September 14, 2010 12:39 PM

Dang... I forgot. This is an *ally* we're talking about :p

Posted by: Cassandra at September 14, 2010 12:51 PM

It sounds fishy to me. No way, it just doesn't pass the smell test.

Banned from travelling to the US for life? We don't even do that to multiple illegal immigration violators. Let alone for calling the President a name. If we did that there probably wouldn't be any tourism to the US.

Posted by: Allen at September 14, 2010 07:08 PM

The odd thing is that you don't see the FBI denying it either :)

This is the most informative article I've seen so far:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/09/13/2010-09-13_british_teen_luke_angel_banned_from_united_states_for_life_for_offensive_email_t.html

"The individual had sent an email to the White House which was full of abusive and threatening language," a police spokesperson told the British newspaper, Bedfordshire On Sunday.

Officers visited Angel at his home in Silsoe, a town in Bedfordshire, England, during which time the teen admitted to sending the e-mail, although he couldn't remember what he wrote.

"I don't remember exactly what I wrote as I was drunk," he told The Sun. "But I think I called Barack Obama a pr---. It was silly - the sort of thing you do when you're a teenager and have had a few."

His e-mail, however, was brought to the attention of government officials who didn't find it quite so funny.

"The police who came ‘round took my picture and told me I was banned from America forever," the 17-year-old said.

But the young man was apparently not upset over his being shunned by a country.

"I don't really care," he said, but "my parents aren't very happy about it."

The U.S. Customs & Border Protection agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security and is in charge of enforcing immigration law, said it "would not discuss" specific cases. A spokeswoman, however, did tell the Daily News that "there are a variety of reasons why a person could be banned from entering the United States."

She noted that, through the Immigration and Naturalization Act, there are more than 60 reasons a person could be denied entry. Among them are health concerns, immigration violations, as well as security concerns.


Posted by: Cassandra at September 14, 2010 07:22 PM

I am quite sure there are all sorts of laws about denying entry to the US. It's just that they seem so passe these days. Maybe in this case the system will work perfectly.

I must admit my cynic's hat had slipped a bit; but on reconsideration, those drunken British teenage louts are definitely a national security concern. :)

Posted by: Allen at September 14, 2010 08:13 PM

A campaign slogan for 2012:

Let the Angels into the country

or

Luke, you can't trust the force of Obama

Stay tuned!!!

Posted by: Rocky and Bullwinkle at September 15, 2010 12:04 AM

Gizmodo has apologized for publishing the drunk email story because:

1.) The FBI doesn't call the local police of a 1,729-people village in Bedfordshire, England, to tell someone is banned from entering the United States.

2.) According to Homeland Security rules, if you are banned from entering the United States, they don't ever tell foreign nationals about it. They just deny you entry at the border because it shows up in your file.


http://gizmodo.com/5637203/drunk-email-to-obama-gets-british-teen-banned-from-america-for-life

Posted by: Craig at September 15, 2010 08:00 AM

Craig:

The Gizmodo post you posted cites no source (whatsoever) for the retraction.

None.

On the other hand, this article (and the one I cited earlier) both state that the story was confirmed by local police:

The FBI intercepted the message and contacted police in the UK who went to see the 17-year-old at his home in Silsoe, Bedfordshire. Luke, a college student, is now on a list of people who are banned from visiting the States....A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: "The individual sent an email to the White House full of abusive and threatening language. "We were informed by the Metropolitan Police and went to see him. He said, 'Oh dear, it was me'."

Perhaps you can explain to me how the local police in Bedfordshire found out about an email sent to the White House without the help of some federal employee in the U.S.?

Also: why on earth would you cite a "source" that doesn't bother to link to their source? All I saw was an unsubstantiated opinion from some person identified as "JD".

I am perfectly willing to consider the strong possibility that there's more to this story, but when you see a story reported in several UK papers without any statement refuting it by the FBI or by the Metropolitan police in the UK or by the local Bedfordshire police, or by Homeland Security (who were cited in several of the stories), doesn't that make you wonder at all? I checked to see how many papers were running the story and read at least 8 versions of it (with varying levels of detail) before posting this.

At present the story is out there and there is nothing out there to refute or contradict it. So, while I wouldn't swear in court that I can prove it's true, there seems to be not a single shred of evidence that it's false, either :p

Posted by: Cassandra at September 15, 2010 08:31 AM

The BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-11296303

Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8003542/British-teenager-banned-from-US-over-drunken-email-to-Barack-Obama.html

If you search the Times of London they covered the story as well but it's behind a paywall.

The Independent didn't cover the story (at least that I could tell).

The Daily Mail:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1311701/Brit-Luke-Angel-banned-US-sending-Barack-Obama-abusive-e-mail.html

Posted by: Cassandra at September 15, 2010 08:44 AM

The Times of India:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Briton-banned-for-life-for-sending-abusive-mail-to-Obama/articleshow/6553555.cms

The BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-11296303

The Post-Chronicle:

http://www.postchronicle.com/news/original/article_212322882.shtml

Posted by: BillT at September 15, 2010 09:11 AM

1.) The FBI doesn't call the local police of a 1,729-people village in Bedfordshire, England, to tell someone is banned from entering the United States.

Someone representing themselves to the as being FBI did exactly that.

2.) According to Homeland Security rules, if you are banned from entering the United States, they don't ever tell foreign nationals about it. They just deny you entry at the border because it shows up in your file.

That's precisely *not* the rules. If you're on the "banned" list, you aren't even allowed to buy a ticket to travel here from your home country.

Posted by: BillT at September 15, 2010 09:21 AM

Aw come on, Bill! Stick to the facts!

After all, some dude named JD at Gizmodo says that's the rule.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 15, 2010 09:32 AM

Clarification of the above: Travel to the US from most foreign countries requires a visa, and if you are on the banned list, your visa application will be denied.

The “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007” (9/11 Act) amended Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), requir[es] that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implement an electronic travel authorization system: "In the event you are not approved for a travel authorization, no court shall have jurisdiction to review an eligibility determination under ESTA."

https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/WebHelp/ESTA_Screen-Level_Online_Help_1.htm#TA11

Posted by: BillT at September 15, 2010 09:34 AM

Aw, darn-gosh-all-hemlock. I just blew JD's blog-cred, didden i?

Posted by: BillT at September 15, 2010 09:36 AM

Well, it's really impossible to say, at the moment, whether the story-as-reported is true or not - and the Gizmodo retraction certainly doesn't tend to settle the matter.

That said, I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were significant elements of hoax in the story. It certainly does "smell" somewhat funny (as someone above noted, I believe), and in my earlier post my use of the word "reportedly" gave a hint of the vague-ish doubts I entertained upon reading several versions of the tale. (& I suppose that it's even possible that my employment of the "aroma" construction there (albeit re: a different assertion) was influenced by those doubts as well.)

It will be mildly interesting to see how, if at all, this develops. The story has obviously been picked up by many mainstream publications, and while most seem to have effectively done no more than "cut and paste", a few, at least have been somewhat more "critical". For example, the Telegraph account reports and links to the Gizmodo retraction, and the Post Chronicle version inserts more than a few "apparently's". Perhaps these are not major journalistic advances over the orginal reporting, but they seem to me to express some doubt, sub rosa, or at least to amount to application of a smidgen of CYA lotion, to the account-as-repeated.

If it should turn out that it was Bill from Hackney (or Tom from New Rochelle) who put one over on the Met, that would be considerably more welcome (and much more amusing) than learning that the FBI actually made the call(s) as reported.

Cheers

Posted by: pond at September 15, 2010 11:50 AM

I agree, pond. It's not at all unreasonable to be skeptical of the story - not by any means. My objection was more aimed at the nature of the Gizmodo link and whether it could reasonably be viewed as anything other than opinion.

Perhaps these are not major journalistic advances over the orginal reporting, but they seem to me to express some doubt, sub rosa, or at least to amount to application of a smidgen of CYA lotion, to the account-as-repeated.

And that's better reporting, IMO. The original articles were nearly identical (there was little or no variation, leading me to think they just picked up an item that went out via one of the wire services). A day later, more detailed articles are appearing and I think that's a good thing.

If one comes out with info saying this is bunk (and I know about it) I'll happily post it.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 15, 2010 12:02 PM

If it should turn out that it was Bill from Hackney (or Tom from New Rochelle) who put one over on the Met, that would be considerably more welcome (and much more amusing) than learning that the FBI actually made the call(s) as reported.

If the call didn't originate from a DC area code, that would raise red flags with the Brits. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if the call actually originated from one of the zealots in the WH mail room who decided to impersonate an official from the Bureau.

The facts remaining are that the Metropolitan Police aren't denying it, the local cops aren't denying it, and *somebody* who reads the WH e-mails must have started the ball rolling.

Posted by: BillT at September 15, 2010 02:23 PM

Well, it's really impossible to say, at the moment, whether the story-as-reported is true or not

That has more to do with you lacking faculties for intensive analysis protocols.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 15, 2010 02:57 PM

Obama's storm troopers are just practicing. This isn't anything serious, yet.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 15, 2010 02:58 PM

Their response to someone calling him a "prick" makes me sort of wonder why I haven't had SWAT teams nuking my place and/or arresting my loud nasty mouth yet. Guess there are different standards for foreigners.

AWC, USN(Ret) (just for reference)

Posted by: PunkIindrublic at September 15, 2010 09:27 PM

Well, it's really impossible to say, at the moment, whether the story-as-reported is true or not - and the Gizmodo retraction certainly doesn't tend to settle the matter.

None of the parties involved have issued retractions or corrections.

Joanne Ferreira [DHS] responded to a reporter's question with, "We are prohibited from discussing specific cases," which is a pretty ingenuous statement, because DHS *has* provided information on why specific individuals were banned -- the Christmas bomber was the most recent example.

Finally, Gizmodo's retraction was based solely on JD's assumption that the FBI would *not* contact a foreign police department and his lack of knowledge of how the system works.

Posted by: BillT at September 16, 2010 01:51 AM

The FBI is actually floating around in a lot of places.

For one thing, I heard they were in Japan and the local Japanese police force know them. At least in Tokyo.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 16, 2010 05:38 AM

Of course, I think NCIS may take the medal on number of places they have been.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 16, 2010 05:40 AM

In 2002, POTUS expanded the FBI's jurisdiction to "worldwide" when it involved investigating terror incidents, terrorist activities, or securing evidence that had been captured in military raids.

*grin*

The FBI-guy was pleased to see I knew what to look for on his ID before I had him sign for -- stuff...

Posted by: BillT at September 16, 2010 05:57 AM

There was a tv series in Japan that had the FBI working with the Tokyo police to catch a serial killer.

At first I thought that was something inaccurate, but it turned out there was (some) collaboration for it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 16, 2010 09:15 AM

Like I said before, some things may be impossible to determine for those lacking the faculties to conduct proper analysis of the datum.

But it's not impossible for the wise or the experienced.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 16, 2010 09:17 AM

In 2002, POTUS

I take it that there was no TOTUS back then to make such decisions?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 16, 2010 04:08 PM

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