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Filmmaker learns why she endured airport stops for years

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/17/2017 By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press
FILE - In this April 11, 2014 file photo, filmmaker Laura Poitras smiles after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Poitras’ travel nightmare began a decade ago when the award-winning documentary filmmaker started getting detained at airports every time she tried to step foot back in the United States. She would be stopped without explanation more than 50 times on foreign trips and dozens of times during domestic travel. Only now is Poitras beginning to unravel the mystery, which starts on a bloody day in Baghdad in 2004. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this April 11, 2014 file photo, filmmaker Laura Poitras smiles after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Poitras’ travel nightmare began a decade ago when the award-winning documentary filmmaker started getting detained at airports every time she tried to step foot back in the United States. She would be stopped without explanation more than 50 times on foreign trips and dozens of times during domestic travel. Only now is Poitras beginning to unravel the mystery, which starts on a bloody day in Baghdad in 2004. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — New York filmmaker Laura Poitras endured extra screening at airports for years.

Between 2006 and 2012, she was stopped more than 50 times when she tried to set foot back in the U.S.

Only now, after suing the government, she's learned that her travel nightmare stemmed from a movie she filmed in Iraq in 2004. U.S. troops alleged she had gotten a heads-up about a deadly ambush but didn't alert the military. That would have been a crime. But she was never charged.

The Homeland Security Department says the government determined in 2012 she was no longer "high-risk," allowing Customs to stop its enhanced screenings.

Poitras has made films on National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. She worries the robust security screenings might start again.

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