What It's Like to Be a Suspected Terrorist

FBI

“Americans continue to shake their heads over new revelations of widespread data mining and near-universal phone tapping, while Unamericans righteously defend these tactics and call for punishment of the leakers who revealed them. Were I to be shown in accurate detail why it was necessary for me to be kept under surveillance, possibly for the rest of my life, I might be able to accept these invasions of my privacy for the collective good. The ostensible purpose of this surveillance is to protect us, and our freedoms, from terrorists. What remains uncertain, since secret, is how terrifying the terrorists presently are, and to what extent rights and liberties may be undermined in order to save us from them. I cannot say how many intelligence operatives might be hampered or endangered by greater oversight; on the other hand, if the Unamericans continue to have their way we will never know how many innocent people they have imprisoned, tortured and perhaps murdered.”

-Author William T. Vollmann, in Harper’s (subscription required), on being identified by the FBI as a suspected terrorist—including accusations that he was the Unabomber. Read more on spying.

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Photo: groovysoup, Flickr

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