My clean cut 22 year old son and I recently went on the RS Turkey tour. We had a great time. I knew about the extra security at the Istanbul international airport. One goes through a TSA like security line TWICE before getting to your gate. At the gate is another passport check and a bag check. My bags were perfunctorily looked at by the agents but my son's bag was thoroughly checked, every zipper unzipped, every pocket examined. (Thank goodness for packing cubes). We had several bags of tea and spices in his luggage that made it through the x-rays without notice, but they got a lot of attention at the gate. Originally, I thought we were going to lose the tea and spices, but the supervisor came over and allowed all but one which was a mix to add to yogurt. (It was white, what in the he** was I thinking?) He kindly explained that he had to confiscate that but sent us on with the rest.
We landed in Chicago a grueling 12 hours later. We used the kiosks that scan your passports. My son's receipt was printed with a big "X" on it. I thought it was because of the tea and spices (we did declare plant products). We went through the first line and spoke with the customs border protection officer. Very little was said, but we were met by another officer at that point and taken to a side area. The officer said that we needed to speak to another officer. He reassuringly (?) told us not to be worried, everything would be OK. I was tired and confused and was thinking this was a lot to go through because of some spice. My son and I were separated and he was interviewed by yet another CBP officer. He was asked why he went to Turkey. He was asked how many other countries he visited. What cities in Turkey did he visit? Did he go to any other countries? Did he go to Syria? Some other questions. Did he go to Syria? How close to Syria did he get? The interview was about ten minutes or so. The officer didn't care at all about the spices.
My conclusion is that he was profiled as a risky candidate for domestic terrorism, which I am completely OK with.
Has anyone else gone through this extra interview process? If so, where were you traveling from?