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back to article Terror cops swoop on couple who Googled 'backpacks' and 'pressure cooker'

Freelance writer Michele Catalano thought she might get herself a pressure cooker to prepare Quinoa, the south American wonder-grain. Her husband wanted a new backpack. Both did what you do these days: go online and search for them. Catalano's husband did so from his work computer, and later left his job. Nothing to see here, …

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Black Helicopters

Thank god for the war on Terror

We don't have anything to fear anymore!

Oh wait...

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Childcatcher

Re: Thank god for the war on Terror

We all just viewed a post with the words backpack, pressure cooker and bomb.

I have a feeling noone will be commenting later.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Thank god for the war on Terror

I would just like to add

There is a fire at the travel agency, John has a long moustache, and Wound my heart with monotonous langour

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Re: Thank god for the war on Terror

Does that mean I have to kill the president of micronesia now ?

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Re: Thank god for the war on Terror

The chair is against the wall.

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Re: Thank god for the war on Terror

The attention was probably largely due to the boss. I doubt the searches alone caused any issue. Without knowing the content of the bosses call it's tough to say.

I know I haven't recieved a visit even after some searches for alcohol stoves that use a pressured fuel supply which probably would not look great. fwiw the stove is for camping and during frequent and prolonged power cuts. Much easier to grab alcohol (heet, even isopropyl) during a pre tsunami rush than butane \ petrol etc.

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Re: Thank god for the war on Terror

Without knowing the content of the bosses call it's tough to say.

Me, I'm starting to wonder if the Laundry is just fiction?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thank god for the war on Terror

@Great Bu, Relax! Don't do it...

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Happy

Re: Thank god for the war on Terror

Welcome over for tea, the Spandaus are warmed up, and the Jenny is dead.

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Big Brother

Re: Thank god for the war on Terror

Better take off and nuke the site from orbit. Its the only way to be sure.

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Re: Thank god for the war on Terror

Stop saying pressure cooker. AAAArghh! ... I've said it ...

the knights who were formally Ni

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>Which of course is just how the terrorists want us to feel.

Terrorists: those who use fear for political ends.

The ones with official power or the others? So far the ones with official power have cost more in terms of deaths of innocents, deprivation of freedom and non-required spending of cash than the others.

Bother, it was click-bait!

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Coat

Yupp

Bin Laden has won hasn't he?

Gettin my (foil lined) coat

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Unhappy

Re: Yupp

'Fraid so.

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"they do this about 100 times a week. And that 99 of those visits turn out to be nothing."

... and the other 1 time turns out to be nothing too.

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You will probably find pot or a runaway dad. Than have the guy taken away in a black limousineblue van.

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Unhappy

The main problem being here is if 1 turns out to be something and they don't check.

Hell even 99.9% turn out to be bugger all that 0.1% is still kinda important. They have check shit out.

Its not like the dude had been dragged to a dark room and hit by rubber hoses. Security theather annoys teh crap out of me (3 suvs and what 6 or 8 guys? comeon thats gotta be taking the piss), but they do have to check when a mbr of the public drops a tip.

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... the other time

"... and the other 1 time falls on our day off. It probably would have been nothing too, you know, past performance being a predictor of future behavior, so we KNOW there is a 99% chance of nothing. We are pretty confident of that. Yep, we spend our time on nothing, nothing at all!"

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Anonymous Coward

> ... and the other 1 time turns out to be nothing too.

On the other hand, given that 1 in 100 Americans are currently serving a prison sentence, I find it entirely plausible that the State could consider 1% of the population to be terrorists.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ... the other time

The one in a hundred won't be a "terror bust" either. More likely they smell the indoor crop being grown upstairs when they pop in to check for "bombs etc".

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Black Helicopters

Just out of curiosity, I wonder what would have happened if the person concerned won't talk to them and won't let them in without a warrant. Black helicopters at 2am?

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We don't need no steenkin' laws

"Just out of curiosity, I wonder what would have happened if the person concerned won't talk to them and won't let them in without a warrant".

Hahahahaha. Very funny indeed. What do you think Homeland Security is going to do if a terrorist blockades himself in his compound and refuses to surrender? Legal rights are for decent honest upright citizens, not enemy combatants. They'd be lucky if Obama himself didn't decide to drop in with a Hellfire missile or the like.

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"The main problem being here is if 1 turns out to be something and they don't check."

Because when you go to trrrrrism school in Central Nowhereistan, the first thing they teach you is how to make a bomb with a backpack and a pressure cooker.

It's a sure tell. And not stupid at all, considering all the other things an informed trrrrist might use to blow shit up.

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Anonymous Coward

Some presumably, that's 4 people a week getting arrested, 208 people a year.

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Stop

Why all the down votes. It sounds like a reasonable response to a tip off. They didn't drag him off, bash down the doors or go in guns blazing.

Yes disturbing and a little frightening, and I wouldn't like it to happen to me, but the officials involved have a duty to follow leads.

The only unreasonable action was of the ex-employer to leap from two innocent search term to the idea of terrorist and call in the cops.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: reasonable behavior

" It sounds like a reasonable response to a tip off. They didn't drag him off, bash down the doors or go in guns blazing."

Guns blazing - bashing down doors, is much more UK Plod Style.

i.e. effectively lie to the judge to get a dodgy warrant, bash down the door and shoot the naked guy in his own bedroom

or accidentally shoot the suspect, as at Forrest Gate in 2006

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Big Brother

So a single tip off follows leads by blockading someones house and scaring theshit out of them? How about some detective work first such as checking the internet logs from said company?

It was disproportionate, threatening and damn scary for the recipient.

My god, ive looked at stuff that could be seen in logs as being suzpect. I help out at am-dram making props and have looked at how easy it is to reactivate firearms so i can purposefully do the opposite on already deactivated ones etc.

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So don't shop while at work?

Although I completely agree that this is a pretty good example of what can happen, even if you have "nothing to hide", it also shows another issue: be careful with the private stuff you do at work.

Even at my last job, where the boss was even OK with me hanging around on IRC on Friday, I never ever went online shopping while at work. At the very most visiting a news website or something, but that's about it.

Personally I think that's the main problem at hand here; don't treat your working environment as your personal living environment. It's not. You don't go shopping during lunch break, so why would you go do that stuff online?

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Devil

Re: So don't shop while at work?

I do not know in which wonderland you live, but around these parts of the world what I do in any of my breaks is my own bloody business. If need to buy something and if it I can do it within the allocated time to me for my break I am entitled to do so.

In any case, the lunch breaks aside, the culture of fear and thinking of everything from the perspective of "Am I doing the right thing? will the cops come for me?" is what differentiated USSR, East Germany and Romania from the rest of the world (even from some other countries in the Eastern block for that matter). What goes around, comes around. 20 years later things have gone full circle. The noise you are hearing is Suslov, Brezhnev and Cheushesku giggling madly in whatever circle of hell is assigned to scum like them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So don't shop while at work?

Wow. I IRC all the time, chat via jabber, browse random stuff online, etc... There is an expectation of privacy around here. And frankly nobody is bothered about what you do at work if you do what needs to be done.

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Meh

Re: So don't shop while at work?

Um... unless you live in one of those big 'cities that never sleeps' type places, lunch time is often the only time you have to do a lot of your shopping.

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WTF?

Re: So don't shop while at work?

I go shopping in my lunch break all the time! Why wouldn't I, it's my time, the shops are in town, I'm in town, it seems the sensible thing to do.

I also clear my browser history when I leave a job (I can't clear the proxy logs of course, but it doesn't sound like they examined those)...

Going back to the story though, the guy shopped for a backpack, why would that cause his ex employer to call the police. His wife was shopping for a pressure cooker, on a different PC, on a different network. As it's been described there is no link between the backpack and the pressure cooker. Unless she actually borrowed his work laptop whilst at home to do that shopping.

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FAIL

Re: So don't shop while at work?

"You don't go shopping during lunch break"

Really? How do you buy your lunch then?

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Re: So don't shop while at work?

what? yes I do go shopping on my lunch break sometimes. so do an awful lot of other people. what the hell do you do on your lunch break? sit in fear at your desk looking out for "suspicious characters"? are you this guy's boss?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So don't shop while at work?

Break times only?

PAH! If you've got a laptop as shit as mine, and a bloated Eclipse workspace your internet history will suggest you spend all day titting about on the web.

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Coat

I'm not slacking off...

My code's compiling!

http://xkcd.com/303/

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Anonymous Coward

@ AC

Good excuse..

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Stop

Re: So don't shop while at work?

So.. If I bought a cooking magazine, and had it open on my desk on a page about pressure cookers when the boss walked by, would that be incriminating too? Or is it only suspicious when done on the internet, because the girl behind the counter at Argos is really a highly trained MI5 profiler, and can spot suspicious explosive kitchenware purchasers... Right?

Do only suspicious people read up on things to find out what the best brand/specifications are?

And for reference, yes. I used to do my grocery shopping during my lunch hour. I worked about 2 minutes from a Safeway in Lewisham at the time, so it was a handy time to do it, and they would be shut by the time I left work. Pre open til midnight days. And we had a nice roomy fridge in the staff room.

Just out of curiosity.. If I bought a bunch of 7 segment displays, a mixed bag of coloured hookup wire, a bunch of 555 timers and some battery connectors, would I qualify for a watch list too? Because I did that a few months ago, and amazingly, the retailer I bought all this potential bomb making equipment from doesn't seem to have turned me in to the secret police. Perhaps I should report him for not reporting me, so we can all be watched in case we are tourists.

If you alter your behaviour to avoid suspicion, then is that not also being suspicious? And if this even crosses your mind, as anything but a joke, it is already too late.. The intimidation has worked.

Mine's the orange jump suit.

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Unhappy

Re: So don't shop while at work?

There are employers out there who regard using the company internet for private purposes as grounds for dismissal. I hope that they get the sort of employees they richly deserve (ones so incompetent that they can't get a job anywhere more enlightened, and "seagull" mercenaries in it just for the money).

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Success

“I’m scared. And not of the right things.”

Bingo.

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People are like golden retrievers!

"Six gentleman in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles and spread out as they walked toward the house"

At that moment people should engage with their AR-15s.

Because if these guys happen to be cartel, then shit's gonna hit the fan. You better take down a few ASAP.

Do not forget to call 911. Apparently you can have "help", it's some sort of kool-aid.

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Happy

Re: People are like golden retrievers!

"At that moment people should engage with their AR-15s.

Because if these guys happen to be cartel, then shit's gonna hit the fan. You better take down a few ASAP."

You need to have added the joke icon

People thought you were serious

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Re: People are like golden retrievers!

Why so serious?

But seriously, if I saw that the first thing I'd do is call the police and hide in a closet. That would scare the shit out of me.

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Holmes

Re: People are like golden retrievers!

Hide in the closet?

Don't you mean video it and slather it all over the interwebs? If you saw it it wasn't happening to you so you're a 'concerned citizen' or whatever the get-out is for filming the Establishment going about it's "business".

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Re: People are like golden retrievers!

To be honest if I saw 3 vehicles of uninvited unknown 'guests' spreading out and boxing me in my home I would certainly call the police and grab a selection of knives. That is because in the UK you cannot have a gun for home defence. Not 1 person would be entering without proper identification and I will demand the police authenticate the visitors or turn up.

I can imagine it would be very unsettling for a gang of plain clothes people to trap you in your home without any reason. Surely a single vehicle would have done (visible)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People are like golden retrievers!

"I would certainly call the police and grab a selection of knives"

Isn't that what the Daily Fail are trying to ban next? pointed knives.

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Re: People are like golden retrievers!

Well they already got swords banned (kinda) which I always found confusing. Why would I go on a rampage with a large heavy piece of steel which, in the hands of average joe with no training, isn't as dangerous as it seems, when I can go into a kitchen drawer and grab a pair of freakin huge butchers knives which can cut through most anything, as well as stab and they're perfectly easy to weild as weapons, far simpler for average joe to carry around than a katana for cods sake.

Just a moment, there's somebody at the door.

*doesn't come back*

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "most anything"

Talk sense, man!

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Re: People are like golden retrievers!

911. He's in the USA. Some parts of the USA, he's not joking.

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