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Homeland Security orders retailers to spy on their own customers

Homeland Security

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(NaturalNews) The federal government is asking Americans to spy on each other again, not coincidentally over the 13th anniversary of 9/11 because, you know, that'll prevent new terrorist attacks or, at a minimum, result in a reduction in the sale of food preparation appliances, which might be just as good.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh (pronounced "Jay" -- I think) Johnson said that his department is going to be issuing new "guidance" to retailers in the coming days, in order to train them on how to spot potential terrorists among customers judging by what they are purchasing.

(Understand that it takes years of higher-lever education and experience as an analyst to really be any good at this, but hey, the Obama Administration's got a few "pointers" for retail store clerks about "How to Spot A Terrorist." No way this could go bad.)

As reported by The Washington Times:

While saying the government cannot prohibit sales of some everyday materials, Mr. Johnson said retailers should be trained to look for anyone who buys a lot from what he described as a "long list of materials that could be used as explosive precursors."

Store clerk-turned-intelligence analyst

Johnson said his proposal was nothing more than an extension of DHS' "If you see something, say something" campaign of watching your neighbor that was launched by his equally inept predecessor, Janet Napolitano, who once claimed that the U.S. border with Mexico has "never been stronger."

"We can't and we shouldn't prohibit the sale of a pressure cooker. We can sensitize retail businesses to be on guard for suspicious behavior by those who buy this kind of stuff," Johnson recently said during a question-and-answer session following a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The terrorists who struck the Boston Marathon in 2013 hid their explosives in pressure cookers; also, insurgent fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq attacked American and NATO forces with bombs hidden in pressure cookers.

But other than those -- which, of course, do have legitimate cooking purposes -- Johnson did not list any other specific items these new legions of retail-clerks-turned-intelligence-analysts should watch for during customer purchases.

And there is this typical statist remark as well: Johnson recognized that there is a tenuous balance between security and freedom, and he just does not want to upset that with his actions.

Only, our founders never considered the "balance" between security and freedom "tenuous." In fact, they never considered it a "balance"; to them, a secure society was a free society. But I digress.

'Halt! Is that a pressure cooker you're buying?'

Johnson went on to note that there currently is no credible information regarding terrorist activities from any number of organizations that have threatened American interests in recent years -- such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is just the most recent group -- but understand that Johnson would not say so if there was such a threat. That kind of information does not get disseminated generally to the public; it goes to state emergency management agencies, U.S. Northern Command and the various agencies and departments of the U.S. intelligence community.

And now to store clerks in the form of vague recommendations and guidelines about common consumer items that could, perhaps, maybe, just might be, used for bad purposes.

Johnson did mention the obvious, though -- "that there is a potential long-term threat, particularly given the number of foreign fighters from countries that have visa waiver privileges from the U.S.," the Times paraphrased. And he said that the federal government should be looking for and analyzing travel patterns and other purchases (which the intelligence community already does on a daily basis) -- especially if they are buying "explosive precursors," which appears to be a new phrase, because this is the first time we've heard that.

So don't say that you weren't warned: If you buy some common household appliance or other item that could be considered an "explosive precursor" -- if they even sell such things at Target or Wal-Mart -- beware. Some retail clerk armed with DHS terrorist "guidelines" is liable to turn you in to the first government agency he finds.




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