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Do you think the FBI should be able to investigate Americans based on terrorist profiles without any evidence of wrongdoing?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 3, 2008

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Photo of Holly Davidson

“No, I think they should have to have done something wrong to warrant the investigation.”

Photo of Craig Friedrichsen

“I think that it depends completely on what is entailed in the profile and how detailed they are.”

Photo of Debra Zahr

“At this point, with our government’s policies about privacy and civil rights being what they are, I would be reluctant to broaden their authority.”

Photo of Tyler Willbanks

“I think they should. It’s an entirely different world we’re living in now, and I’m a card-carrying Democrat, but we are the only major industrialized country that doesn’t already use terrorist profiles as a matter of policy.”


jd 6 years, 8 months ago

Sunflower_sue I like the cut of your jib!

beatrice 6 years, 8 months ago

Show me your papers. Just part of life here in the United Police States of America.

beatrice 6 years, 7 months ago

TOB: Shade? It is so hot here, shade evaporates before it reaches the ground. Actually, the 113 is in the shade! That means exercise consists primarily of running on a treadmill in the air conditioning. I completely don't bother with trying to keep up with my daily run in the great outdoors this time of year. It is a lot like extreme cold. You go from climate controlled house, to climate controlled car, to climate controlled work place ... There is very little done outdoors during the day. At least when exercising at home, no police state stormtrooper can stop me and ask to see my papers. ;-)

ASBESTOS 6 years, 8 months ago

Libs did not care too much about the constitution or the "slippery slope" when it comes to bpeople and their "right to keep and bear arems shall not be infringed".If you are going to champion the constitution, then champion ALL of the constitution. IF this one is not to be violated and interperted conservatively, then do the same with the rest.Liberals on this one are politically conservative, and others are progressive, it is a mixed up world.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 8 months ago

If you are looking for ducks, you don't go searching chickadee nests.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 7 months ago

"Look at the bright side, Scot. If it weren't for the "shameful ignorance of so many people" you couldn't be so proud of your average intelligence."Ah, but you missed my point. My inteligence is no longer anywhere near average.

sunflower_sue 6 years, 7 months ago

"Power corrupts...but absolute power is kinda cool." (Only if it's me, of course.)How does one "fit a terrorist profile?" If we are going just off of names, looks, and religion...then no. That is not enough of a profile. (And I have too many friends that fit that description.) Now, if they belong to a terrorist organization, or they "hang with the bad guys," sure! Check 'em out. Better safe than sorry. I have no doubt someone will be looking into my activities soon enough for being in R_I's circle of known associates.

fu7il3 6 years, 8 months ago

No agency should have to wait to investigate someone till they have done something illegal. That could be devastating. Say you have a guy building a bomb. He plans on blowing up Oak Park Mall during the middle of the Christmas shopping season. If it was possible to have known that was going to happen before it actually did, wouldn't you want it to be known and be stopped?As long as the person's rights aren't violated, what difference does it make? I say if someone is a foreseeable threat, investigate them to the extent that the law allows.

Ceallach 6 years, 7 months ago

Profiling goes on all the time. I was a victim of negative profiling in Waco, Texas! It had nothing to do with terrorism, more to do with my being female, acting uppity (didn't keep my eyes down when he was speaking to me) and the clincher . . . taller than him :) Yes sirree, that was the last night I'll ever spent in Waco, no matter how late I have to drive.

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

Truly don't know which way to go with this argument. It is the epitomy of 'slippery slope'. But after reading Logicsound's first post, I'd have to agree with him/her.On a completely different tack, can I ask ... what the hell is up with this newspaper? I've just recently begun to surf here again and have to say I'm a little disgusted to find two of the top stories are "Obama preferred to McCain at BBQ" and "Michelle disliked more than Cindy". Is this TMZ or a legitimate news source? There have to better things to fill the space in here. And a few hours ago there was a story concerning the Collins civil suit and now it's been completely erased. What gives?

hwarangdo 6 years, 7 months ago

Well folks, today is "Independence Day" ... now in 2008 what do we have independence from?Tyranny? NoInnocent until proven guilty? NoAll men are created equal? NoOppression? Noetc etc etcFor those who live in constant fear, you'll agree that yes, of course, by all means, allow our basic freedoms to be slashed away "in the name of ..."Whatever.Let's put it this way: we're being led by the nose rings into something we think will provide safety, all in the name of fighting terrorism.So, if we are willing to give up our FREEDOMS for "safety", then the bad people have already won and we are the idiotic fools who allowed it to happen.Think about that next time you have a phone conversation, type an email, blog (like here), speak about anything at all to anyone - and smile for the cameras and hum for the recording.Meanwhile, the "terror" of climate change/extreme weather has already killed millions, we have wildfires burning half the US, 100-year floods that come every year now, volcanoes that could destroy entire cities (Mt Rainier), earthquakes ... and, oh yes, threat of nuclear annihilation if Israel goes ballestic and Iran and others decide to get even, or vice versa. And we think terrorism is all we need to worry about?So let the fun begin and let us celebrate our "independence" ...

repaste 6 years, 7 months ago

Wow, some real strong opposites are very together on this one. Profile does not mean crime - it could mean your Dillons card/gas card/credit card/phone records/internet use showed "suspicious" patterns - all these have been monitored for some time. Left and right unite on this one!

fu7il3 6 years, 7 months ago

I just wanted to point out, since someone brought it up yesterday, another bug eyed sunglasses person, and this time it is a man.Maybe they ARE intentionally putting in one per day.

Chrissy Neibarger 6 years, 7 months ago

what happened to innocent until proven guilty? I think that media has completely switched that around on us, they convict someone before they even get a chance at a fair trial anymore. There almost isn't a fair trial when it comes to something that's been covered on TV, Newspapers, Magazines, etc.

dminear60 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree with Multidisciplinary, "It rates up there with 'red scares' and nazi 'anti semitism'".

Ceallach 6 years, 8 months ago

Say it ain't so! I guess the old saying is true, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts . . . absolutely.

Ceallach 6 years, 7 months ago

That certainly stops any griping about our weather I might be tempted to post!! Thankfully, you are kool enough to survive :)

Daytrader23 6 years, 8 months ago

Oops, Yes I believe the F.B.I has a right to "Investigate" someone they think may be involved in illegal activities so long as it doesn't violate the one or two constitutional laws we have left.

jonas 6 years, 7 months ago

ASBESTOS (Anonymous) says:"Libs did not care too much about the constitution or the "slippery slope" when it comes to bpeople and their "right to keep and bear arems shall not be infringed"."That, of course, goes vice-versa as well, Asbestos. Why are you not chiding the many conservative voices on every gun thread, who are mysteriously absent here, for Their inconsistency?Perhaps you, yourself, can be biased and inconsistent, ne?

Beth Bird 6 years, 7 months ago

No. It is as simple as that. The answer is no.

unknownperson 6 years, 7 months ago

yes because white people didnt crash 747's into buildings

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

Hell NO. Simply because the Bush team screwed up on 9/11/01 is no reason to change anything.Dump the Patriot Act!!! This BUSHCO government cannot be trusted. I say throw these bums in prisonBig Brother has plenty of means without extending the list. Big brother had info on all of the 9/11/01 characters. It was Bush,Cheney,Rice and Rummy that screwed up. The bottom line...Bush blew it on 9/11/01 and he has trying to cover his butt since. Bush,Rice,Cheney,Gates and their PNAC thinking pals are a disgrace and to think the so called republican party blindly supported these criminals.

Jim Phillips 6 years, 7 months ago

I think the appropriate term everyone seems to be miising (and obviously omitted by LJW)is "probable cause". If "probable cause" exists then the government should be able to--and does-- investigate to its hearts content. FIshing trips should be completely forbidden.What bait are you using, Smitty?

jonas 6 years, 7 months ago

Your humility seems like it's in great shape, too. You are truly a fantastic person.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 7 months ago

spiderham, a newspaper is a business. They are free to decide what to publish & what to leave out.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

Remember anyone that disagrees with BUSHCO is a terrorists. Anyone that challenges Monsantowould be considered a terrorist. Anyone that demonstrates against the Iraq war fiasco or against Nuke power is considered a terrorist. Wiretaps have been discovered on Greenpeace???Bush and Cheney likely look upon Planned Parenthood as terrorists.People need to discover first what constitutes as a terrorists under this administration? The question did not provide necessary background information.

sgtwolverine 6 years, 7 months ago

R_I, I think it has something to do with computer processors.

sunflower_sue 6 years, 8 months ago

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I'm going to check it out before I let it loose in my pond.

fu7il3 6 years, 8 months ago

Goofy is facing courtmarshal for waterboarding. Sorry to be the one to break it to the public. He's coldhearted. All you could hear throughout the magic kingdom was his maniacal guffaw as the suspects choked and sputtered.

Daytrader23 6 years, 8 months ago

KSA_21_3503 (Anonymous) says:You might recall a time when we were the only country that used a democratic form of government too. Thank God our founding fathers weren't this stupidI say,Umm, Switzerland has been a democracy since 1251 A.D. Correct me if I am wrong but I think that was before America was discovered by Vikings and then later by Christopher Columbus. You know factual history always seems to get in the way of a good argument.

jonas 6 years, 7 months ago

MultiD: That's a pretty interesting article. I'll have to follow that case.

more_cowbell 6 years, 7 months ago

"If someone has a terrorist profile, wouldn't that mean there is already evidence of wrongdoing?"OriginalBob, I'm pretty sure the original question was poorly worded, as it was indeed referring to the "profiling" of a person (any person, whether at an airport or elsewhere), not based on that person's previous record of any sort, but solely upon their appearance and/or behavior.The question ought to have been better put, so as not to confuse us, the readers.I'm pretty sure the answer to the question is NO, and I say this in part because I respond to "unknown person" a couple comments above with the following: no, white people don't crash 747s into buildings; they rent Ryder trucks, load them with ammonia fertilizer and explosives, park them next to federal buildings in Oklahoma City, and set timed fuses.So if the FBI is going to profile, they should also watch out for freshly-scrubbed crew-cut white guys (hey, better profile women too, to stay two steps ahead). Because the terrorists are probably doing their own "reverse profiling", recruiting "non-terrorist-looking" folks, as they're already quite aware about the profiling issue.Happy 4th.

beatrice 6 years, 7 months ago

Hey Ceal, it is hot here in AZ, real hot. We've already had something like 16 days above 110, and the coming week isn't going to change. I think we are having 113 today, just like yesterday. Although the humidity is low right now, it is still a burn your skin type hot when outside at mid-day. Ugh. The pool isn't even that comforting -- the water is too warm and won't cool down because it sometimes remains above 100 degrees at midnight. Outside of the weather, we are rolling with the effects of the tough economy probably a little better than many others and the important things in life are going well. So things are okay.

fu7il3 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm not sure you can compare communism and semitism with child abuse. Though I'd like to see the criteria for determining if someone is safe.

Satirical 6 years, 8 months ago

Investigate: no problemConduct warrantless searches or seizures: absolutely not.

Ceallach 6 years, 8 months ago

Governmental agencies should not investigate anyone until they have done something wrong, and those same agencies must provide accurate intelligence reports. Also, after someone has done something wrong they should be questioned in Disneyland and/or Disney World. Grumpy should not be allowed to interact with the prisoners, but Goofy would be okay. Is that too much to ask?

unelectable 6 years, 8 months ago

It says "Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 3, 2008."Wasn't this question asked of these people yesterday, July 2? It's being asked of us, here online, on July 3.

Satirical 6 years, 8 months ago

People, the question was whether the FBI could "investigate" not whether they could violate the Constitution and conduct warrantless searches. Investigating, asking questions, and looking up public information about someone is perfectly legal by the FBI or anyone else.

Ceallach 6 years, 8 months ago

Hey there bea! How goes things in AZ?

Ceallach 6 years, 7 months ago

All y'all have a great holiday. It's almost noon and I'm outta here!

Crossfire 6 years, 7 months ago

The FBI has a duty to investigate your Ramen Noodle consumption. And to keep secret records for the good of the nations security. Because Ramen is the first part of the Holy Month of Ramen-don.Noodle Terrorist are lurking in every kitchen just waiting to suicide bomb your Mom.

jonas 6 years, 7 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says:"Considering asbestos' comment"That's usually a mistake. Not always, just usually.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 7 months ago

bea, stay in the shade as much as you can. Be careful.

dandelion 6 years, 7 months ago

unknownperson (Anonymous) says:yes because white people didnt crash 747's into buildingsBut white people blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City. That was a terrorist act committed by one of our own citizens, but it's always swept under the rug. We should make sure we investigate all the white folk too. The profile of a good ole boy who is a right wing nut and hates the government would certainly keep them busy.

sgtwolverine 6 years, 7 months ago

Is there an associated article to define "investigate"? If "investigate" means "throw fruitcakes at," then I'm all for it. No fruitcakes left behind!

Scott Drummond 6 years, 7 months ago

There is a reason george bush has plaugued this country for 7+ years and it is revealed here daily in the shameful ignorance of so many people. The most basic understanding of civics and our form of government clearly no longer exist among the majority of citizens.

RonBurgandy 6 years, 8 months ago

Nope. Only with in the bounds of the Constitution.

Ceallach 6 years, 7 months ago

Even the shamefully ignorant get tired of having it thrown in their faces :)

Ceallach 6 years, 7 months ago

Look at the bright side, Scot. If it weren't for the "shameful ignorance of so many people" you couldn't be so proud of your average intelligence.

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