Homeland Security Gone Wrong: The Story of Star Simpson


A year ago yesterday, an MIT student was arrested and nearly killed at Boston Logan airport. Her crime: wearing a home-made hoodie with a LED circuit-board sewn into it. This is her first interview since the event. A full transcript is at the bottom of the page or those who don’t want ot watch the video.

I remember the right-wing blogosphere jumping all over her like she was either a terrorist or some sort of social miscreant. Turns out she was just there to pick up a friend. if this is the level of police stupidity we’re willing to allow to protect us from terrorists, then they’ve already won.

Personally, I think Ms. Simpson should sue everyone from the cops, to the airport authority, to homeland security for putting her through a year of absolute Hell.


#1 l3wis on 09.22.08 at 12:57 pm

I would like to Boing-Boing Xeni Jardin. Do you think that is her real name? We know it’s not her real hair.

I like how the Police of Chief said “Lucky she cooperated, because she ended up in a jail cell instead of a morge.” Nice.

#2 Ghost of Dude on 09.22.08 at 1:10 pm

I’m sure he’s still employed too – probably promoted. What a tool.

#3 Anon on 09.22.08 at 2:56 pm

I’ve seen a picture of the harmless hoodie. It does not look harmless. Anybody who would go to LOGAN AIRPORT, for CHRIST’S SAKE, with a get-up like this deserves whatever they get.

#4 l3wis on 09.22.08 at 4:29 pm

You mean if I go into a public place with a lite-bright board on my head I deserved to be treated like a jihadist and have my life ruined?

You have no clue what civil liberties are? Do you? BTW, one of them gives you the right to be an idiot on my site, just so you know.

Though I agree she should have been detained for suspician, I also think an intelligent police department could have figured out in about 30 minutes that what she had was not a bomb, and she should have been released. End of story.

It’s this stupid fear-mongering bullshit that needs to end in this country before we can move forward.

#5 Anon on 09.22.08 at 4:42 pm

Logan Airport is not a typical “public place.”

And are you saying that she bears no responsbililty for what happened?

Just wondering.

#6 l3wis on 09.22.08 at 5:58 pm

Airports are public places, last I checked. Your point?

#7 Angry Guy on 09.22.08 at 7:11 pm

I’m torn on this one. While I agree that her device was an obvious POS attempt at humor and a cry for attention in the aftermath of whatever happened on 9-11, she is obviously an idiot. She deserved to be momentarily detained, and possibly charged if they “determined’ that she was doing it deliberately. You should tape a light brite board to your head at the next council meeting.

#8 l3wis on 09.23.08 at 5:56 am

I agree, she should have been detained, but don’t you think it should have only took about 30 minutes to realize that this was just some glue-gun project a dumb hippy took up in her parent’s basement where she lives?

#9 Ghost of Dude on 09.23.08 at 6:26 am

“I’ve seen a picture of the harmless hoodie. It does not look harmless. Anybody who would go to LOGAN AIRPORT, for CHRIST’S SAKE, with a get-up like this deserves whatever they get.”

From the interview, it seems like she had no idea that it would cause the panic it did, and wasn’t there to “get attention” from anyone other than the guy she was there to pick up.
And no, she does not deserve what she got. Nobody should have to go through a year of court dates because the police couldn’t admit that they screwed up. She was young and naive, but meant no harm.

#10 l3wis on 09.23.08 at 6:30 am

Maybe cops should concentrate on solving real crimes instead of chasing people with lite-brites in their hoodies.

#11 Angry Guy on 09.23.08 at 8:37 am

The box of Frosted flakes I finished off this morning had a mysterious white substance in the bottom of the bag. My house went to DefCon Brown shortly thereafter….

#12 l3wis on 09.23.08 at 8:46 am

Are you running for the U.S. Senate?

#13 Angry Guy on 09.23.08 at 11:08 am

I only campaign in airport bathrooms and public parks.

#14 l3wis on 09.23.08 at 11:10 am

So you are a wizard?

#15 Angry Guy on 09.23.08 at 2:56 pm

Watch it bub, or I’ll turn you into a tall happy person.

#16 l3wis on 09.23.08 at 2:58 pm

F’ck that would suck, I would have to buy an American car.

#17 Ankimo on 07.24.18 at 4:47 pm

Wow, someone’s a real fucking idiot. An airport is no place to pull a “practical joke” like that.