Security: Pros and Cons: Part Deux

While we are on the subject of security policies, I should mention the FBI interviews of people from Middle Eastern and Muslim countries. I was also one of the people interviewed by US government agencies early this year. My interview was harmless. The time and date of the interview was set at my convenience. The interview lasted about half an hour. There were two agents who were very polite. They didn’t ask to see any documents. They were interested in what sort of work/research I was doing in the US and whether I had any contact with anyone who could be interested in advanced technology for the wrong purpose. Looking back at my interview, I see no harm being done. But there were people who were afraid, some because they didn’t like being singled out, others because an encounter with the police in their home countries is not a pleasant thing. There were also cases of people who had broken the law in some way (e.g. working without INS authorization to make ends meet while they were in school.) In the end, the story in Pakistan was not of polite FBI officers interviewing law-abiding people. It was of Pakistanis and Muslims being targetted and harassed. The news reports told of people being detained and deported. The media, as Aziz emphasizes, focuses only on the scandalous and sensational. What we forget is that it’s not just the US media; newspapers (which are usually more independent than TV and radio in most of the Middle East) in other countries do the same. It’s just that what they sensationalize is our follies and our policies.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer