|November 16, 2012
As we seem to be told repeatedly, seeing something and saying something is perhaps the greatest duty an American citizen can perform in service to this country. It's simply not enough anymore to install an American flag in the front yard and purchase domestic vehicles. Now, every citizen should be keeping his eye out for (and on) his fellow citizens. The price of freedom may be eternal vigilance, but the price of security is endless paranoia.
To that end, the DHS and the FBI have joined forces to compile a list of oddities that might well indicate you are sleeping one paper-thin wall away from death personified (via Bruce Schneier's fine blog).
Possible indicators of terrorist behaviors at hotels: The observation of multiple indicators may represent—based on the specific facts or circumstances—possible terrorist behaviors at hotels:[Place of employment? Seriously? "Alan Smithee, 123 Main Street, Anytown USA 5578H. Occupation: Death Hug Merchant."]
- Not providing professional or personal details on hotel registrations—such as place of employment, contact information, or place of residence.
- Using payphones for outgoing calls or making front desk requests in person to avoid using the room telephone.[Payphones? Are terrorists unaware of "burners?"]
- Interest in using Internet cafes, despite hotel Internet availability.[This seems to suggest that the Feds have already let themselves in the back door on the (sometimes prohibitively expensive) hotel wi-fi.]
- Non-VIPs who request that their presence at a hotel not be divulged.[Let me get this straight: normal, "non-VIP" people will just have their information divulged to whoever asks, simply because they're not "important" enough to deserve privacy? Perhaps that should be posted on a sign somewhere up by the check-in desk: "All guests are created equal, but some are more equal than others."]
- Extending departure dates one day at a time for prolonged periods.[Something only a terrorist would do. Let me give you a real life, happened-to-me example: in town to visit the famous Mayo Clinic seeking medical help for my wife. What started out as three days turned into seven days, with the stay at the hotel being extended one day at a time. Open-ended hotel stays: not just for terrorists anymore.]
- Refusal of housekeeping services for extended periods.[This I believe. No one wants to make their own bed.]
- Extended stays with little baggage or unpacked luggage.[Unless the staff have been instructed to do a little snooping in every room, how would anyone know how much baggage someone brought and never unpacked? No doubt this will soon make its way onto propaganda posters: "HAVE YOU PACKED ENOUGH? Traveling light is traveling with terror."]
- Access or attempted access to areas of the hotel normally restricted to staff.[Close to the parking lot, ground floor. Convenience or criminal intent?]
- Use of cash for large transactions or a credit card in someone else’s name.
- Requests for specific rooms, floors, or other locations in the hotel.
- Use of a third party to register.
- Multiple visitors or deliveries to one individual or room.[Ruthless cabal or post-prom drinking party?]
- Unusual interest in hotel access, including main and alternate entrances, emergency exits, and surrounding routes.[IN CASE OF FIRE, PLEASE REMAIN IGNORANT.]
- Use of entrances and exits that avoid the lobby or other areas with cameras and hotel personnel.[Like the one nearest your vehicle?]
- Attempting to access restricted parking areas with a vehicle or leaving unattended vehicles near the hotel building.[During your stay at the hotel, please remain in your vehicle at all times.]
- Unusual interest in hotel staff operating procedures, shift changes, closed-circuit TV systems, fire alarms, and security systems.[You'd think the Feds would be happy to have CLUES and EVIDENCE just laying around.]
- Leaving the property for several days and then returning.
- Abandoning a room and leaving behind clothing, toiletries, or other items.
- Noncompliance with other hotel policies.[Ah. The handy catch-all. If the other points don't directly implicate you, then maybe something from this list will!]