NSA Critic Banned From Entering United States

A German critic of the NSA's spying on foreigners has been refused entry into the United States without explanation, his criticism the likely cause.

Ilija Trojanow, NSA Critic

Writer and NSA critic Ilija Trojanow, shown here, was denied entry into the US by officials, possibly in correlation to a letter protesting NSA spying.

The National Security Agency's uncontrolled surveillance programs, as revealed by Edward Snowden, have outraged many a foreigner, even those who have never left their homelands or know what America looks like.  Many foreign citizens and government officials have protested and attacked the United States government for their continued support of the NSA's invasive snooping into the private lives of citizens, both American and non-American.  The United States has been mostly quiet in terms of response to these protests (since they are happening, you know, elsewhere, and there's a government shutdown happening), but they have targeted certain people, including one German activist who was recently denied entry into the country.

Ilija Trojanow, a 48-year-old German author originally from Bulgaria, had been critical of the NSA's operations, particularly Operation PRISM, since Edward Snowden released documents pertaining to them in the middle of 2013.  Following the NSA revelations, Trojanow, along with author Juli Zeh, penned an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, signed with more than 70,000 signatures, demanding she reveal the full extent of the spying in Germany, to "tell the nation the full truth about the spying offensive."  Chancellor Merkel resisted Trojanow's letter, though she and her cabinet have been critical of the NSA's efforts.

Recently, Ilija Trojanow was en route to Denver from Brazil to attend a German language convention, but when attempting to board a plane in Salvador de Bahia, airport officials refused to let him board.  An official told Trojanow that he was not allowed to board the plane because he was denied entry into the United States, without an explanation.  Trojanow remained stranded in Brazil until his publisher was able to book him a flight back to Germany.

It remains unknown why the United States denied Ilija Trojanow entry to the country.  Juli Zeh, however, suspects the letter had something to do with the denial of entry.  That is a bit hard to believe, though:  While there is a history in the United States of denying foreigners entry into the country, there have not been many cases in the modern era where there was no express warning that they would be denied entry, especially for the reason of merely protesting American policy.  It'll be interesting what comes of this.

(Image Sources: WU Vienna, Das Blaue Sofa)

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