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I'm dating a terrorist! - Tina Marie's Ramblings
Red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme...
skywhisperer
skywhisperer
I'm dating a terrorist!
(this is my boyfriend's post from rec.aviation.piloting this morning. 'GA' in this case is "General Aviation")

(3 posts in one day! This is a record for me!)

From: crwdog69@hotmail.com (Michael)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.piloting
Subject: Your very own suspected terrorist

I have often wondered, with GA under increased scrutiny, how long it would be before one of us was investigated as a suspected terrorist.
I never thought I would be first.

I came home from the airport last night to find a business card stuck in the door of my apartment. It had the embossed gold emblem (which costs quite a bit extra - I guess, unlike the company I work for, the federal government isn't exactly watching its pennies) of the FBI, and a note on the back asking me to call. I did, but of course everyone had gone home for the day so all I got was voice mail.

In the morning, I left another message - seems nobody was in the office at 8:30 AM either - and eventually got a call back. The special agent (what is a special agent, anyway, and how does he differ from a regular agent?) informed me that he needed to speak with me personally. At first he didn't want to tell me what it was about, being vague about having to investigate a complaint, but when I pressed him he broke down and told me I was under suspicion as a terrorist! I nearly cracked up.

I suppose that had I actually been an international terrorist, I would have immediately driven to the airport and taken the next flight out of the country. Or, given that the Mexican border is only a few hours drive South, I could have left that way. Then again, I suppose I would have done that the previous evening, the moment I saw the card. But since I'm not a terrorist, I simply made an appointment to meet him at work.

He showed up at the receptionist's desk later that morning. He wore a suit and tie and carried a briefcase, so he didn't look out of place.
I escorted him to my office, told him to take a seat, and closed the door. He showed me his ID, and we got down to business.

The agent had NOT done his homework. He didn't know how old I was, where I was born - anything. Since I am a naturalized citizen, I know I have a file at the INS - but he didn't, and didn't even bother to check. After we got through the basics, the story came out.

Seems that someone at my apartment complex had pegged me as suspicious. I was getting packages and magazines with aviation markings, and some of them were marked as hazardous materials. Of course for shipping purposes, aviation paints, primers, dopes, preservatives, and adhesives are all considered hazardous materials. Yup, you guessed it. The stuff I had shipped to do my annual this year (and it was a big annual) made me a terrorism suspect. A dark tan (we don't have much of a winter in Houston, and I tan easily) and a beard sealed the deal.

I told him about my airplane, and the annual I was doing. I even showed him a picture. Like most people, he was amazed that the plane was a 1965 model, and noted that they seem to hold up better than cars. No, they don't - they require lots of care. Thus all the boxes of parts, primers, paints, lubricants... He examined my pilot and flight instructor certificates, and seemed confused. He said he couldn't find an expiration date on my pilot certificate. I had to explain to him that unlike flight instructor certificates, pilot certificates don't expire. He carefully noted the numbers on his pad, but I could see his heart wasn't in it anymore.

A few minutes later, I escorted him out of the building. I guess my moment of glory as a suspected international terrorist was over, so I returned to my desk, wondering how much tax money was wasted on this nonsense.

Michael
The pilot formerly known as a suspected international terrorist

Current Mood: amused amused

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Comments
alioth1 From: alioth1 Date: January 24th, 2004 06:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Sigh.

It really is turning from 'America: land of the free, home of the brave' to 'America: land of the sheep, home of the scared'. What happened to knowing your neighbours? (Well, I know having lived in a Houston apartment, I never saw mine, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised).

I don't know what's more worrying - the fact that the FBI agent clearly was clueless (despite Michael having an INS file and entries in the FAA databases for his pilot certificate and ownership of aircraft) or that people are so damned suspicious now.
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