Special Report: Are you a terrorist?
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. -- Could a terrorist be headed to a tattoo shop? Or how
about a hobby shop near you? The FBI thinks so.
Since 9/11, the federal government has raised the ante when it comes to domestic security.
Some say to the cost of our own civil liberties. And CBS 12 has learned of a new way the
FBI is trying root out terrorism here at home.
"They have mufflers on them, they have carburetors on them," said Bernard
Bernard Greenberg has a passion for remote-controlled helicopters. So much so, a few years
back he decided to buy 3G Hobbies in Lake Worth which sells not only RC choppers, but
planes as well. That's why he was not surprised when one day he got a flyer from the FBI.
"I think it's a good list."
He's talking about these "Communities Against Terrorism" flyers, a collection of
25 flyers produced by the FBI and the Department of Justice and distributed to local
businesses in a variety of industries. They list potential indicators of suspicious
activities or suspicious people that could be terrorists.
We expected mass transportation, bulk fuel distributors and storage facilities to receive
the warnings. But other businesses were surprising, like hobby shops.
"A lot of people that walk into the store for the first time and are interested in
flying have some of the same questions a terrorist would," said Greenberg.
That's because in the hobby shops flyer, the FBI says someone could be considered
suspicious if they are: "demonstrating unusual interest in remote controlled
But the flyer goes on to say a suspicious person could also inquire about: "model
aircraft payload and maximum range".
"Anybody could put a payload of explosives and in a short flight into a building, and
that would cause some damage," said Greenberg.
Dive captain and owner of Scuba Adventures in Lake Park, Jim Abernethy, hasn't received a
flyer. But the FBI did create one for boat and dive shops like his. Among the red flags,
"wanting to dive in locations not normally associated with diving." Or inquiring
about "rebreathing equipment for extremely deep dives or extended dive times."
"If a terrorist would like to attack America under water, certainly they would have
to go through some type of dive shop operation to acquire the re-breather or scuba diving
equipment," said Abernethy.
Another place that struck us as odd to be on an FBI watch list, a tattoo shop.
"We see our share of the unusual," said Jim Lockhart.
Lockhart admits his Inksters Tattoo in North Palm Beach is a place with some odd
customers, but not necessarily terrorists.
"The things that they have on their watch list like, people coming in to spend cash.
We are primarily a cash business. Changing of apperances. We do work with the fettish
community and a change of appearance happens all the time anyways," said Lockhart.
One indicator in the Tattoo shop flyer prepared by the FBI made him think twice. People
may be suspicious if they "inquire about unusual methods of tattoing or placement of
tattoos which could allow the concealment of extremist symbols."
"It never occurred to me that would be an extremist plot or a direction to mark
themselves," said Lockhart.
"Some of it seems a little bit over the top, but I am sure they have their reasons
for what they are doing," said Abernathy.
The FBI told us the flyers were part of outreach efforts to raise awareness, and encourage
the public to contact the FBI or local law enforcement if they notice something
suspicious. They stress, people should always remember that just because someone's speech,
actions, and appearance are different, it does not mean he or she is suspicious. http://www.cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_481.shtml#.T5rNEGMfVDU.facebook
"The two enemies of the people are
criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the
Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."