Monday, September 23, 2013

How to Spot a "Sleeper" (According to the FBI)

What follows is essential reading.

The excerpt below is from a article entitled "When Speech Becomes Suspicious: The FBI's 'Communities Against Terrorism'":

The FBI wants you to know that paying with cash, being concerned about your privacy (or as the FBI calls it, your "privacy"), and taking an "unusual" interest in surveillance or security procedures are all suspicious activities that could be linked to terrorism.
Last week, Public Intelligence posted a file containing a number of FBI "Communities Against Terrorism" cheat sheets, which contain information about supposed terrorism risk indicators, directed at various groups of people or private entities. Among the categories are:
  • construction sites
  • electronics stores
  • hobby shops
  • hotels and malls
  • internet caf├ęs
  • entertainment facilities
  • martial arts and paintball activities
  • mass transportation and
  • "sleepers" -- or "otherwise persons who camouflage their involvement in terrorist activity or planning by attempting to fit in with others in our society."
(That last bit is awfully strange, isn't it? You'd assume that anyone bent on committing acts of terrorism would want to camouflage their involvement with that activity, no?)
You might think: great! The FBI is reaching out to communities and businesses, doing due diligence to ensure that many different communities in the United States have the information they need to protect themselves and their surroundings from those who would do them harm. And indeed, some of the FBI's advice to businesses and the public make sense. For example, when advising farm store suppliers about things to watch out for, the FBI lists a number of chemicals that might be used to manufacture a bomb, and advises that shop owners ask for identification whenever people purchase those materials.
But the cheat sheets go well beyond commonsense advice, and encroach directly on our rights to freedom of speech and freedom from government intrusion into our private lives. We've talked for a long time about the FBI's classification of commonplace activities like taking notes or photography as "suspicious activities,"and these sheets repeat those mistakes. But there are three other trends in these documents that warrant particular concern....

To read the rest of the article, click HERE.

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