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Family Innocently Googles ‘Pressure Cooker’ And ‘Backpack’ – Cops Show Up

August 1, 2013 by  

A Long Island writer needed a new pressure cooker and wanted to compare brands. Internet, right? Her husband, meanwhile, wanted a new backpack and decided to do a little online shopping. The couple’s 20 year-old son, meanwhile, had avidly kept up with the news coverage of the Boston Marathon terror attack. He’s a news junkie; a child of the Digital Age, so he got his news from the internet.

“This was weeks ago,” blogged pressure cooker-shopper Michele Catalano Thursday. “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.”

Why was she so distressed? Because six cops identifying themselves as part of a “joint terrorism task force” showed up at her house. They wanted to know about her husband’s ancestry. If they’d ever looked up instructions on how to make a pressure cooker bomb. If they had a bomb. If they had a pressure cooker. They asked to search the house.

Since Catalano and her family are all “U.S. Persons” and aren’t subject to the FISA laws enabling the Feds to surveil people they’re 51 percent sure might be foreign-born terrorists, it’s an open question how the officers (legally) came to know the family’s internet habits.

Various news agencies late Thursday still hadn’t been able to determine which law enforcement agencies supplied officers for the would-be terror raid.

 

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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