12 June 2008

A Subject of Interest

I landed at JFK yesterday morning, and was given a warm welcome home by my government. I was "green foldered," along with a few other people from my flight from Dubai, including an exceptionally innocent-looking young Asian girl. The green folder sends you to a special desk where you are waterboarded, have your fingernails pulled out, and are forced to listen to Celine Dion records.

OK, not really. Just the most amusingly inept interrogation imaginable.
Customs Agent: "What were you doing in Syria?"

Me: Just visiting. Being a tourist.
CA: Where did you go?
Me: Damascus, Latakia, Bosra.
CA: (With blank look, obviously clueless as to where these places where) But what were you doing in Syria?
Me: Being a tourist.
More questions, more answers, then...
CA: And what were you doing in Syria?
Me: Being a tourist.
CA: Did you talk to any government officials?
Me: No.
More questions, more answers, then...
CA: What were you doing in Syria?
Me: (Sigh...) OK, fine, I was running arms across the border into Iraq to supply al Qaeda fighters, supplying nuclear secrets to the Syrian government, and smuggling in Krispy Kreme donuts for Bashar Assad--he's a huge fan, but can't get them in Damascus.

OK, not that last line, either. I can be impatient and obnoxious, but really the whole dialogue was more amusing than annoying--especially as I was being interrogated by someone who, based on his exceptionally thick accent, is not, as I am, a natural born citizen.

But what really caught my attention is that it wasn't the Syrian visa in my passport that got me green-foldered, but a notation in the computer system. So clearly the government had noted my trip and wanted to question me well in advance of my return home. So now there's a government file on me, and if, as I have faint hopes of, I actually can talk to government officials on my next trip, things ought to get really interesting.

1 comment:

Scott Hanley said...

I'm jealous. I don't have a file (that I know of).