Tuesday, March 25, 2003
"Paranoia, paranoia, la lala la la..."
Said Sgt. R.J. Steinheimer, "There have been reports of suspicious activity regarding you."
"By whom?" I asked.
"Can't tell you that," he replied.
"What kind of suspicious activity?" I asked.
"Apparently you have been showing interest in equipment on the grounds, making notes, that sort of thing," he said. "Are you interested in talking to us about what you're doing?"
I could have told him right then that I was a journalist. But I figured that any citizen should be able to ask a couple of questions without being detained as a suspicious person. I told him that I simply wanted to know what kind of machine it was.
"Are you aware of the current threat level?" Officer J. Keyser asked.
I told him I was. The United States had, after all, just launched an attack on Iraq knowing that it would increase the chances of terrorist attacks at home. But that didn't explain why I was being associated with Code Orange.
Officer E. Sinkeldam asked if I'd seen the ABC-TV piece on "20/20" about how "al Qaeda operatives had posed as tourists and had used their video cameras for surveillance before 9/11. In this heightened state of alert," he explained, "if anyone shows a particular interest in something, we get suspicious."
The end of this story is the real kicker, though. Absolutely extraordinary.