Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Falafel Me This

Weapons of Mass Destruction?
Wikipedia: Falafel

What percentage of American falafel eaters are terrorists? The FBI thinks it's a connection worth pursuing. In 2005 and 2006, the FBI actually looked at grocery story sales in the San Francisco area to see if they would find terrorists because they were purchasing falafel ingredients. (And what of hummus?)

The CQPolitics article about the FBI tracking grocery store sales is not from the satirical newspaper the Onion. No, it is a statement of fact. The FBI actually looked at who bought the ingredients to make falafel in order to find Iranian terrorists.

Because falafel eaters....oh, never mind, it's so mindnumbingly foolish that it seems superfluous to comment on it.

Because really, falafel ingredients? Why didn't they look at, oh, I don't know, visas, flight schools, purchases of guns, ammunition and bomb-making materials, or bank records, just to name a few.

And shouldn't they have looked carefully at Bill O'Reilly, a self-confessed lover of the falafel (last line, paragraph 78)?

CQPolitics: FBI Hoped to Follow Falafel Trail to Iranian Terrorists Here

Like Hansel and Gretel hoping to follow their bread crumbs out of the forest, 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 terrorists.

The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.

The brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon, according to well-informed sources, the project didn’t last long. It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous — and possibly illegal.

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