‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign has caught zero terrorists
Paul Joseph Watson
August 7, 2013
The Department of Homeland Security is facing criticism over an ad for its ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign that features a woman in a low cut top, prompting jibes that the federal agency is trying to ‘sex up’ the task of encouraging Americans to spy on each other.
“It looks more like an ad for a spa treatment, or possibly, Match.com,” joked Buzzfeed, noting that, “The ad features a woman who looks more bemused than worried, checking out…something. She’s wearing what appears to be a sexy, deep neckline dress or top.”
Instead of informing the public about exactly what they are supposed to be looking out for, the ad seems solely designed to attract attention and characterize the whole process of tattling on your fellow citizen as sexy and seductive – like you’re playing the starring role in a spy thriller.
“Whereas the transit agency at least tried to strike up a sense of fear by deploying imagery of ominous abandoned messenger bags or shady characters leaving luggage behind, this iteration by the feds appears to lack any urgency and could just as easily double as an ad for out of date cell phones,” remarked Bucky Turco.
The ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign was originally created by New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority. As a 2012 New York Magazine article documents, it has led to the capture of precisely zero actual terrorists. Indeed, just eighteen arrests were made from 2006-2007 as a result of the ads, with most of them for things like unregistered guns or immigration violations.
As NYU sociologist Harvey Molotch argues, the campaign has actually created less security by clogging the system with baseless reports, thereby preventing serious threats from being identified.
“The people who work in the subway regard most of these measures as jokes having no bearing on their actual practices,” said Molotch, who interviewed 80 subway workers about the campaign. “If they really acted on each of these things, the subway system would come to a halt.”
As we have previously highlighted, when pressed to clarify precisely what Americans should be looking out for in terms of “suspicious activity,” the Department of Homeland Security has offered guidance so broad that if it were actually acted upon, millions of innocent Americans would be reported as potential terrorists every single day.
DHS promotional videos for the ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign have portrayed routine behavior as suspicious, including opposing surveillance, paying for a hotel room with cash, using a video camera, talking to police officers, wearing hoodies, driving vans, writing on a piece of paper, and using a cell phone recording application.
As we have documented, every historical example of such informant programs illustrates that they never lead to a more secure society, but instead breed suspicion, distrust, fear and resentment amongst the population. The only “benefit” that such programs have ever achieved is allowing the state to more easily identify and persecute political dissidents while discouraging the wider population from engaging in any criticism against the government.