Friday, November 09, 2007

Watch what you eat...

From Democracy Now!
Thursday, Nov. 8.
FBI Monitored Sales At Middle Eastern Grocery Stores
Congressional Quarterly is reporting that the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian secret agents. The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales [!!!!], combined with other data, would lead to Iranian agents in the region. The program was the brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie Hulon. The datamining operation was eventually stopped after FBI officials determined it was possibly illegal to place someone on a terrorist list because of what they ate.
Read the Congressional Quarterly report here. Particularly telling is this statement:
As ridiculous as it sounds, the groceries counting scheme is a measure of how desperate the FBI is to disrupt domestic terrorism plots.
And worse yet, a measure of how completely uninformed the FBI is, since falafel is a mainstay of the diet in Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel--but NOT Iran. Falafel sales are much more likely to be indicative of the presence of Israelis than Iranians...

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