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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Serious terrorists prefer ninja outfits to beach wear

I was scanning through the radio channels during lunch today when I came across an interesting show on that French channel, NPR. The host was interviewing a Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer named Penny Collins about an anti-terrorism project she runs.

The project, Waterway Watch, allows regular citizens to participate in the War on Terror by keeping an eye out for suspicious boaters. When asked how to identify a suspicious boater, CPO Collins replied that you can spot them because they dress funny.

Here's a transcript from her conversation with Talk of the Nation host, Neal Conan (audio beginning at 36:19):

CONAN: I have to ask you. Improper or unusual clothing?

COLLINS: Right, uhmmm, in an area where there would be, ahhh, somebody dressed in say, ahhh, a really black diving suit or something like that...

CONAN: A ninja outfit or something like that. I see.

COLLINS: Yeah, right. You would be suspicious of somebody. Especially in an area if you are a boater that is familiar with your area and you see someone that is dressed in that type of attire, then you would probably say there's something not quite right with this.

Here are a few more helpful terrorist spotting tips from a Waterway Watch brochure (pdf):

Anyone who misuses boating lingo or seems too eager to use all the lingo

Anyone who appears to be simply loitering near a boat or waterfront facility without any apparent reason for being there.

Any suspicious person photographing or sketching waterfront installations.

Dangerous cargo or loads that appear to be explosives, chemical containers or weapons on or being loaded onto a boat.

And finally, from their web page, be sure to watch out for colored people.

Note appearance, size, coloring of individuals.

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.