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'I'm Sorry, But We Blew Up Your Laptop'

Illustration for article titled Im Sorry, But We Blew Up Your Laptop

Lily was traveling to Tel Aviv. For some reason, the Israeli security officers thought she was suspicious. So they put three bullets through her MacBook.

Then they asked me to wait. Since they had asked for friends and families phone numbers I assumed they might be calling to verify my answers to questions or confirm I really had extended family in Tel Aviv. An announcement played over the sound system, interrupting my break in the sunshine. First in Hebrew, then Arabic, then in English. It was something along the lines of, "do not to be alarmed by gunshots because the Israeli security needs to blow up suspicious passanger luggage."

I went inside to check on my bag. I had left it unattended, where they instructed. It was still there so I went back outside.

Moments later a man came outside and introduced himself as the manager on duty. And then, "I'm sorry but we had to blow up your laptop."

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Fortunately for all of her data, they missed the hard drive. Now she's trying to figure out how to get the Israeli government to reimburse her for her swiss cheese laptop. Be sure to read the full story over at her blog. [Lilly Sussman via Cynical-C]

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DISCUSSION

While I think the shooting of the MacBook was probably going too far, she did have a number of things that drew attention to her: photos of anti-Israel graffiti on her camera, stamps in her passport from Syria, UAE and Qatar, and she was coming from Egypt, apparently. This is not the first instance of a laptop getting "blown up" and won't be the last. A lot of Americans "lose" their old passports months before going to Israel, so as not to have entry-exit visas from Arab states in the passport they take to Israel. Just reading the blog entry, she seemed suspicious to the security folks, not from the standpoint of bringing a bomb, but from the standpoint of bringing information. So, they did the simplest, easiest thing. It's not the greatest outcome, but given that she could have been detained and interrogated for days, it's also not as bad as it could have been for her.