In a search and interrogation process, there is a step known as “secondary.” Typically, when detectives request your presence at a police station to “answer a few questions,” you may find yourself in a step up from the basic interrogation process. That means that your initial answers to their questions have been rejected for appearing to be frivolous, questionable, or simply viewed as bold-faced lies.
Secondary is a thing to dread and should be taken seriously or it can be a source of pure hardship for you. I especially fear being put into secondary in a third-world international airport, port, or other means of entry/exit, to/from a foreign country.
In my case, I was first picked up by airport police at SeaTac International airport. It was a required exercise in my Delta Force training. All of us Delta candidates knew we were going to be picked up at an airport and put into a secondary interrogation environment. The airport police had all of our ID
photos and were at our arrival gates waiting.
On my flight to Seattle, I sat next to a woman (girl?) who had her infant son with her. She rambled on and on about Jackson T. Sh*t, while I just smiled and nodded here and there. She suddenly lamented that she accidentally drank milk: she was allergic to milk and warned me that her allergy would
bid her drop off into a very sound sleep for a period of time.
She pleaded for me to take care of her baby as she plopped Mr. Baby into my lap, and rolled over into a deep sleep. Mr. Baby turned out to be a rather splendid surprise by his beguiling nature and lack of hissy-fits or bouts of crying. I say you may even describe my time with Mr. Baby as one of enchantment.
“How does a person ‘accidentally’ drink milk when they know they are allergic and will become incapacitated as a result of drinking it?” Now I wondered feverishly if Ms. ‘Martha’ and Mr. Baby were plants directed by the training exercise. However it was to pan out, I was going to keep those two with me as long as possible; the police were looking for a single man, not a family with a “wife and child.”
As me, Mr. Baby, and the confused ol’ ball and chain exited the aircraft into the gate holding area I swear one of the first things I was immediately conscious of was an airport policeman scanning the crowd. His eyes glossed right over me and the fam as we walked by.
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“I’ll take your carry-on and you take the baby to baggage claim. We’ll get your check-in luggage and a taxi and ‘BAM’ you’ll be on your way.”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha… [she chuckled], that made it sound like we are an old married couple, doesn’t it, ha, ha…?”
“Miss… please don’t ever, ever say that ever again.”
You see, I was about to turn from darling and dah-dah into the mean man again as I searched fervently for her bag. As she busied herself loading a cart with her luggage I turned quickly on my heels to dart out of baggage claim… and almost slammed faces with an airport policeman, tall, thin, and in his late sixties.
“Mr. Hand… Mr. George E. Hand IV?”
*sigh* “Yeah, that’s me.” And he hooked me up with some cuffs. As the cop wheeled my roller board, a firm grasp onto my cuffed arm, I treated myself to a glance back at Martha and the kid. Martha was in such shock at seeing me under arrest that I feared she may drop off again into another comma; Mr. Baby’s head bounced up and down rhythmically with the hiccups. I sighed and wondered if I would ever see them again.
Eight years later
With some eight years of gunning, flying, and kicking down doors behind me I took a transfer to our Advance Forces Operations (AFO) squadron. Key to that work was traveling and operating in foreign countries lousy with barbarians. One truly needed to totally have their game on to conduct
these missions. So, I was immediately pumped into the queue to repeat the interrogation scenarios that Seattle’s SeaTac International airport had offered eight years before.
On the flight over to the airport, I thought of nothing save my conduct eight years ago, concentrating primarily on the things I had done wrong… after all, just concentrating on the cool-guy things I did well wouldn’t have given me much to think about.
I sat alone, pining away the possibility that Mr. Baby was eight now, and hoped Martha had finally evolved beyond her foolishness. When the plane landed I exited into the passenger holding area and almost bumped noses with an airport policeman, tall, thin, and in his early seventies. I can
confirm by his name tag that he was one and the same policemen who had pulled me into secondary some eight years ago. He look at me too with bewilderment.
Finally, the officer told me with a grin, “Do you want to go through the same rigmarole as last time, or just go straight to the office and grab a coffee before the agents arrive?”
“Aw, now then you’re a man after my own heart — lead the way, officer!”
By Almighty God and with honor,
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monport laser says
With some eight years of gunning, flying, and kicking down doors behind me I took a transfer to our Advance Forces Operations (AFO) squadron. Key to that work was traveling and operating in foreign countries lousy with barbarians.
The worst is excessive / in Hanst!
Susan H says
Thank you, Geo! Vastly entertaining and educational as well! Looking forward to part 2 😊
Excellent Geo, looking forward to part 2.
Thinking of the women drinking the milk “accidentally.” Many years ago, when my daughters were teenagers and were working at Burger King, there was a tragic incident in New Hampshire where a mom and her children were in a Burger King. One of the daughters had a serious nut allergy and wanted a pesto chicken sandwich. The mother asked the teenage worker if the pesto chicken sandwich had any nuts in it? The worker said no. She had no clue that pesto is typically made with pine nuts blended with EVO and basil. The daughter ate it and died before the paramedics could get there. The young worker had no clue, I don’t blame her, but the mother should have used her brain. If you had a child with a deadly allergy to nuts, would you even think about letting her eat something with the word pesto in it? Great article, Geo.
geo, There’s that warped sense of humor and weird things that could only happen to you. Lol
Richard Bejtlich says
I read the whole article and did not see “WHY YOU DON’T WANT TO BE TAKEN INTO SECONDARY DURING AIRPORT SECURITY INTERROGATION”. The headlines acts like secondary is akin to SERE training, which I “enjoyed” in the summer of 1991. That said, I most recently experienced secondary returning to Dulles after a flight from the Middle East, probably 10 years ago now. It was no problem. I’ve also been questioned overseas. I’m not sure about the point of this article? Thanks.