It was a confluence of magnificent proportions that led six agents from the joint terrorism task force to knock on my door Wednesday morning. Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history.
Most of it was innocent enough. I had researched pressure cookers. My husband was looking for a backpack. And maybe in another time those two things together would have seemed innocuous, but we are in “these times” now. And in these times, when things like the Boston bombing happen, you spend a lot of time on the internet reading about it and, if you are my exceedingly curious news junkie of a twenty-ear-old son, you click a lot of links when you read the myriad of stories. You might just read a CNN piece about how bomb making instructions are readily available on the internet and you will in all probability, if you are that kid, click the link provided.
Which might not raise any red flags. Because who wasn’t reading those stories? Who wasn’t clicking those links? But my son’s reading habits combined with my search for a pressure cooker and my husband’s search for a backpack set off an alarm of sorts at the joint terrorism task force headquarters.
That’s how I imagine it played out, anyhow. Lots of bells and whistles and a crowd of task force workers huddled around a computer screen looking at our Google history.
This was weeks ago. I don’t know what took them so long to get here. Maybe they were waiting for some other devious Google search to show up but “what the hell do I do with quinoa” and “Is A-Rod suspended yet” didn’t fit into the equation so they just moved in based on those older searches.
I was at work when it happened. My husband called me as soon as it was over, almost laughing about it but I wasn’t joining in the laughter. His call left me shaken and anxious.
Actually, I will comment. The FBI couldn’t be bothered to keep tabs on the Boston Marathon bombers despite tips from Russia that they were dangerous. But six terrorism agents can find time to check out the house of an American family after some other agent has found time to do extensive Googling on them?
My guess is that our homeland security agents are so politically correct that they were careful not to be "intrusive" with the Tsarnaev family. But this family, apparently having no Islamic connections, was fair game. The woman who wrote this item ended by saying, “I’m scared. And not of the right things.” Speaking only for myself, I've felt that the NSA surveillance is probably a good thing, entirely designed to keep us safe. At the very least, in light of the divergent treatment of the Tsarnaevs and this family, we must question how time is spent.
As the GPS lady says: Recalculating. Recalculating.
Hat tip: Mollie Hemingway, who spotted this bizarre story.