A flyer from a series created by the FBI and Department of Justice to promote suspicious activity reporting states that espousing conspiracy theories or anti-US rhetoric should be considered a potential indicator of terrorist activity. The document, part of a collection published yesterday by Public Intelligence, indicates that individuals who discuss “conspiracy theories about Westerners” or display “fury at the West for reasons ranging from personal problems to global policies of the U.S.” are to be considered as potentially engaging in terrorist activity. For an example of the kinds of conspiracy theories that are to be considered suspicious, the flyer specifically lists the belief that the “CIA arranged for 9/11 to legitimize the invasion of foreign lands.”
Even if you don’t believe in conspiracy theories, you may still be presenting indicators of potential terrorist activity by espousing “anti-US” rhetoric. Several of the FBI flyers state that “suspicious comments” of an “anti-US” nature should be considered a suspicious activity. Nearly all of the flyers recommend that employees should spy on their customers: “Talk to customers, ask questions, and listen to and observe their responses.” The flyers recommend that employees take notes on “suspicious statements, people, and/or vehicles” and report this information to law enforcement if they feel there is a potential threat. However, with indicators that are so incredibly vague and common, the suspicious person could simply be expressing an unfavorable opinion about U.S. foreign policy or an unusual belief they hold, as is protected by the First Amendment.