Tuesday, June 05, 2007

George W Bush's America. Land of the surveilled; Home of the terrified.

So, you decide to set up a little profile on MySpace. You have a sense of humour so you play around with it a little bit. Then you get a little off the wall with quotes from Back To The Future.

And then the FBI comes for you.

Sound preposterous? Not if you're Chiniqua.
Yesterday around lunchtime the boyfriend calls me at work. “Chica,” he says, “you should listen to this message.” He plays a message from an NYPD detective asking me to call him. I was confused, but assumed it was some sort of fundraising request. A couple of hours later I the detective and left a message. His voicemail said he was a part of the NYPD-FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. [As background, almost 10 years ago I worked as an investigator at the New York Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the agency that investigates complaints against the police department. It was an interesting job and a lot of fun (all of the investigators were just out of school, which made it a little more party-like than you would think. Or perhaps a lot more). I eventually quit and went on to work on a couple of movies before going to grad school. About a month ago I got a myspace friend request from some group called ‘CCRB Underground’ and said yes. It was a collection of current or former CCRB investigators making fun of the place. I remember looking at it and trying to figure out if I knew any of them, but I didn’t. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how they knew who I was until I realized I had CCRB listed as one of the places I’d worked on my profile.] So it did occur to me that this might have something to do with the CCRB, but I couldn’t imagine what. After a little phone tag I finally spoke with the detective. He wanted to meet up with me and ask a few questions relating to CCRB but about a current case. He was willing to come to my work or home, but wanted to do it that day. I’m not too big on having the police in my house, so I suggested the Starbucks by work. The detective said they could drive me home if I was in a hurry, and that they didn’t want to inconvenience me. None of this made any sense, but I wasn’t especially concerned. Maybe some old investigator had some issue with the cops? There was one guy who did a lot of street theatre stuff, and another girl who had been pretty heavily involved in protesting the RNC back in ’04, and I know that the Joint Task Force was involved in that. More worried were all of my coworkers, who were horrified at the idea that I might just get into a car with strangers. I went and met the detective. He and his partner showed me their IDs. One was indeed an NYPD Detective and the other an FBI agent. They were very friendly and asked where I wanted to talk. I said on the way home was great. We got into their car (a big one with DC plates) and the detective sat in the back with me while the g-man drove. They already knew my address. Why? Because they’d been to my house three times already. In fact, they hadn’t ever called me, they had been ringing my buzzer (which runs through the phone line and which my machine eventually picks up). Here’s where it gets crazy.
Read the good part here.

Hat tip Brilliant at Breakfast

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