TWO pals were barred from entering the US after innocent tweets joking about “destroying America” were picked up by the country’s anti-terror cops.
US special agents monitoring Twitter spotted Leigh Van Bryan’s messages weeks before he left for a holiday in Los Angeles with pal Emily Bunting.
Leigh, who also quipped about “digging up Marilyn Monroe” on Twitter, said they were treated like terrorists on arrival at a Los Angeles International Airport. The pair were held by armed guards and quizzed for five hours before being handcuffed, put in a van with illegal immigrants and locked up overnight.
They spent 12 hours in separate holding cells and were then put on a flight home.
Leigh, 26, was kept under armed guard in a cell with Mexican drug dealers. The Department of Homeland Security flagged up Leigh as a potential threat when he posted a Twitter message to his pals ahead of his trip to Hollywood.
It read: “Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America”.
Despite telling officials at LAX airport the term “destroy” was British slang for partying, the pair were held on suspicion of planning to “commit crimes”.
Irishman Leigh, a bar manager from Coventry, said: “It’s almost funny now but at the time it was really scary.
“The Homeland Security agents were treating me like some kind of terrorist. I kept saying they had got the wrong meaning from my tweet but they just told me ‘You’ve really f***ed up with that tweet, boy’.”
He was also quizzed about another tweet which quoted hit US comedy Family Guy and said: “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p*ssing people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!”
Agents even checked the pair’s cases for SPADES and suspected that Emily was to act as “lookout” while Leigh raided the film beauty’s tomb.
Emily, 24, from Birmingham, said: “Officials told us we were not allowed into the country because of Leigh’s tweets.
“We just wanted to have a good time on holiday. That was all Leigh meant in his tweets.”
The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment.