October 22, 2021

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It Is What You Do

Homer couple raided by FBI finds travel harder on the ‘special’ list with TSA

4 min read

A Homer, Alaska couple whose home was raided in April by federal agents who said they were looking for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop have found they’ve been placed on a special security screening list by the Transportation Security Administration.

Their recent experiences traveling have left them feeling like their government is treating them like domestic terrorists.

Read: FBI breaks into Homer home, looking for Nancy Pelosi’s laptop

When Paul Hueper drove from Homer to Anchorage and returned to Homer on Ravn Air two weeks ago, he was pulled aside by airline personnel. His ticket had an SSSS designation, which means he’d been selected for secondary screening.

“They held me at the check-in for 45 minutes while they were conversing with TSA,” Hueper said. He was finally able to catch his flight home.

Last week, when he and his wife Marilyn tried to board a flight in Anchorage for Seattle and San Francisco, on their way to a memorial service in Sonoma, they were pulled aside for such extensive screening that they missed their flight. And then they missed their next flight out of Seattle.

“They went through every piece of clothing, every piece of paper, swabbed everything,” Paul said, of TSA at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. After going through the full-body scanner, the couple were physically patted down.

Missing their first flight, they booked the next one available. When they arrived at the gate to board, TSA was waiting for them again, and went through all of their belongings once more.

The couple arrived in Seattle, but then missed their flight out of Seattle due to their Anchorage experience and also because they were turned away at the gate and forced to submit to TSA baggage and personal searches again, and yet again at the gate.

Everything in their bags touched by TSA once again by TSA, everything swabbed for traces of explosives, full-body pat-downs. Again, TSA was waiting for them at the jetway and went through all their possessions one last time.

For their flight home on July 5, after all the pat downs, scans, and checks, there was even a last surprise mobile TSA checkpoint placed halfway down the jetway to their plane in order to intercept them again to swab their carryons and for agents to interrogate them.

The Huepers realize they’ve been singled out because they went to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, and, as far as the way the government is treating them, the Huepers think they’ve landed on some kind of domestic terrorist list.

The Huepers have concluded that any trip they take will need to have four hours built into it ahead of any flight or connecting flight, and they’ll need to ask the airlines for help to get them on their flights since they have been  turned back whenever they try to board.

The drop into their Orwellian experiences started in late April, when 12 agents — FBI, Capitol Police, ATF, and even local law enforcement — broke down the door of the Hueper’s home. They held the Huepers at gunpoint and accused Marilyn of having stolen Pelosi’s laptop during the Jan. 6 protests inside the U.S. Capitol. They did not produce a search warrant until after they had searched the whole house and kept the Huepers and their houseguests in handcuffs for hours, not allowing them to even use the bathroom.

Marilyn says she never went inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, although Paul posted on Facebook photos of her on the steps of the Capitol. The couple had gone to D.C. to hear former President Donald Trump speak, along with tens of thousands of other Americans.

A photo circulated by the Capitol Police and FBI led law enforcement to single out Marilyn as the person who had stolen the laptop from Pelosi’s office. The comparison between Marilyn, below left, and the unidentified woman sought by federal agents, right, shows numerous differences.

During the federal raid in April, the couple’s door was damaged and never repaired by the government, which took her laptop, the couple’s cell phones, and a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

That Pelosi laptop has never been found, but after weeks, the Huepers’ laptops were returned to them, although their laptops were compromised and unusable due to being bitlocked by the FBI.

That led to Rep. Jim Jordan interrogating FBI Director Christopher Wray in June about why the FBI had taken the pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution during the raid of the Hueper’s home. Wray dodged the question and said he could not talk about an active investigation.

Read: Rep. Jim Jordan asks FBI director why the agents took the Huepers’ copy of the Constitution

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