Patterico's Pontifications


Eyeing What Americans Are Buying

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Homeland Security’s Jeh Johnson has a new idea about how to identify potential terrorists: watch what people are buying.

DHS will provide guidelines to retailers this week:

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.”

He said it was an extension of the “If you see something, say something” campaign launched by his predecessor, former Secretary Janet Napolitano, which tries to enlist average Americans to be aware of their immediate environment.

“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,” Mr. Johnson said during a question-and-answer session after a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2013, the Boston Marathon bomber used two pressure-cookers in the bombing that killed three people and injured hundreds more.


25 Responses to “Eyeing What Americans Are Buying”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  2. ‘Cause, yeah, TWO pressure cookers is clearly an action only a terrorist could love.

    Yeesh. Get people used to spying on each other and sticking their nose into everyone else’ business.

    Then raise the bar incrementally.


    Smock Puppet, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (225d0d)

  3. Perhaps they should mandate a two week waiting period and a back round check for purchasers of pressure cookers. I say they fall under the Dept. of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and pressure Cookers. What say you?

    And those damn dirty restaurateurs, why the hell do they need pressure cookers, they have Henny Penny’s?

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  4. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (created in 2011) officials are seeking to monitor four out of every five U.S. consumer credit card transactions this year — up to 42 billion transactions – through a controversial data-mining program, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner.

    A CFPB strategic planning document for fiscal years 2013-17 describes the “markets monitoring” program through which officials aim to monitor 80 percent of all credit card transactions in 2013.

    The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 1.16 billion consumer credit cards were in use in 2012 for an estimated 52.6 billion transactions. If CFPB officials reach their stated “performance goal,” they would collect data on 42 billion transactions made with 933 million credit cards used by American consumers.

    In addition, CFPB officials hope to monitor up to 95 percent of all mortgage transactions, according to the planning document.

    “This is one step closer to a Big Brother form of government where they know everything about us,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis.

    At a Wednesday hearing before the House Financial Services Committee chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, CFPB Director Richard Cordray defended the data-mining practice and said his agency is monitoring credit card usage at 110 banks, including Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, Discover and American Express.

    when a loser-assed freedom-averse country like America wants to get its fascism on it doesn’t mess around

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  5. CFPB is an agency to watch going forward, it has no real oversight, not least because Congress does not control its budget (something I think is unconstitutional).

    SPQR (c4e119)

  6. do they even have a cogent reason for this, or are they doing it just because they can, for our own good, of course?

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  7. I bet buying a one way plane ticket will get you flagged on that DHS list.

    Everyone knows terrorists look to not waste money on a round-trip ticket.

    DejectedHead (9b0c64)

  8. This isn’t a new idea.

    But you have to know waht’s a tell-tale sign that somebody may be trying to put together a bob and what is not. And then check sort of unobtrsively for othe things maybe that have been purchased.

    Asking uninformed people to start looking for this just creates more false positives.

    Sammy Finkelman (96f386)

  9. I don’t know Mr. Sammy

    once they were told to start looking public school teachers were even able to find guns in pop tarts

    don’t underestimate the power of vigilance

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  10. I am reminded that it was claimed Richard Jewell had bomb making material in his garage, which turned out to mean nails and duct tape. These are just not the wise and honest people that could be trusted with this power, even if we decided freedom was not worth it and we needed wise masters to rule us and protect us from ourselves and our foolishness.

    machinist (313c6a)

  11. doesn’t do a thing for cash purchases either, or checks, for that matter…

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  12. This will or course mean they will hoover up all your Amazon records and if something unusual shows up, they’ll send a car around. Or maybe a SWAT team. Just to be safe.

    Total. Information. Awareness.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  13. Those that are into SF should check out C L Moore’s 1957 classic “Doomsday Morning” about a comprehensive communications system that the nation relies on utterly and which the government uses to spy on everyone utterly. What a concept!

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  14. Say, why not eye what aliens are buying? Just a thot.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  15. Say, why not eye what aliens are buying? Just a thot.

    Or make a list of people who are buying lots of Mexican and Central American brand names. Any data-mining operation worth its name should be able to identify illegals by pattern, given all the info these folks are grabbing.

    But they’ll probably cite privacy laws and refuse.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  16. Kevin @15.

    What are you talking about?

    The data mining operation will give you grocery stores, and the owners of thise stores are probably legal residents, or the ownership is listed in the name of legal residents.,, or do you think food is bought by mail order?

    You can get areas, but it is no big secret. Census figures wll tell you.

    Sammy Finkelman (e6d54e)

  17. And when you report someone for buying pressure cookers and bombing materials, the FBI will ignore them and then investigate you for racism.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  18. I know it’s not funny, but I had to laugh. These idjits telling retailers to report suspicious activity are the same idjits who accused Army personnel who reported Major Nidal Hassan’s not only suspicious behavior but actual, specific threats presented in the form of a pre-jihad powerpoint briefing of bigotry. And went on to threaten their careers if they dared mention it again.

    Diversity uber alles.

    To put it in an international context, these are the same idiots who commanded social workers in Rotherham, England to never, ever again mention the fact the child rapists in that town over the past two decades were almost exclusively Pakistani Muslims. Then sent them to re-education camp racial sensitivity training to pound home the point. In Norway, Muslim immigrants account for every single rape in Oslo. The same is true in Sweden, but these same idjits who imported the problem in the name of diversity have made it illegal to say so.

    Naturally, by these same idjits I don’t mean the same individuals are involved in all cases. But these idjits are interchangeable, demonstrating the exact same perverse thought processes. Like former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Casey, who lamented after Maj. Hassan went on his lone-wolf jihad that killed 13 of his soldiers that it would be an even greater tragedy if his precious diversity initiatives suffered a setback.

    So now these same idjits want retailers to report suspicious activity to them.

    If the individual committing the “suspicious activity” is white, wearing an NRA ball cap and a TEA Party t-shirt, shows a retired military ID when the store processes their credit card, and says something about government being out of control they’ll be OK. But woe to them if they report some swarthy bearded guy wearing sandals, dishdasha, and keffiyeh praying loudly in Arabic for buying a dozen pressure cookers at one time.

    Steve57 (3971c0)

  19. @11– easy-peezy. Keep track of people who make inordinate trips to the ATM, especially at night, or who wear sunglasses during daylight hours while withdrawing case.

    An can’t Dutch over get some respect..?

    A 5-day waiting period to buy galvanized pipe and fittings is a no-brainer.

    gramps, the original (7adb80)

  20. All those helpful MacGyver tips are useless now, along with the recipes in the Anarchist’s Cookbook.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  21. Steve57 (3971c0) — 9/12/2014 @ 10:42 am the same idiots who commanded social workers in Rotherham, England to never, ever again mention the fact the child rapists in that town over the past two decades were almost exclusively Pakistani Muslims. Then sent them to re-education camp racial sensitivity training to pound home the point.

    I don’t think they were idiots. They were corrupt.

    The only way that story makes sense was if theer was corruption. You just don’t get certain things that happened – like “loss” of evidence, or warning parents not to file complaints – if thiswas merely a form of prejudice.

    Or do you think let’s say, when some bosses in places send people who complain of wrongdoing to psychiatrists, they really believe they might need psychiatric treatment?

    In October 2009, Schoolcraft met with NYPD investigators for three hours and detailed more than a dozen cases of crime reports being manipulated in the district. Three weeks after that meeting—which was supposed to have been kept secret from Schoolcraft’s superiors—his precinct commander and a deputy chief ordered Schoolcraft to be dragged from his apartment and forced into the Jamaica Hospital psychiatric ward for six days.

    Sammy Finkelman (e6d54e)

  22. Sammy, they may have had corrupt motives, but they were still idjits.

    The British left did some moronic addition. They already had the British white working class vote. They calculated that by importing an underclass from the Muslim world they would have a permanent winning majority.

    By white working class I mean white Britons who are middle class and on down the socio-economic spectrum.

    Little did they realize they were simply setting the stage for the UKIP and BNP to rise and and take over the British white working class vote, whom Labour et al were no longer representing.

    The fact that the Pakistani Muslims in Rotherham were preying on the daughters of exactly the people who used to vote Labour but now vote UKIP in large numbers (and BNP in small numbers) illustrates my point in microcosm.

    Steve57 (3971c0)

  23. @19 Arrrrgh! Dutch OVEN.

    gramps, the original (7adb80)

  24. “See something say something” was not dreamed up by Napolitano as Jeh says.

    It was dreamed up by the NYC MTA after 9/11 and is trademerked.

    I wonder if Jeh has permission from the MTA to use it?

    John Henry

    John Henry (d483c3)

  25. i saw this lady at pick up stix fresh asian flavors put a bunch of soy sauce and splenda in her purse but i didn’t say anything

    happyfeet (a785d5)

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