DHS Asks Stores to Watch Customers’ Behavior for Terrorist Signs

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, September 10, 2014

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said his department will be issuing new guidance to retailers this week giving them pointers on how to spot potential terrorists among their customers by looking at what they’re buying.

While saying the government cannot prohibit sales of some everyday materials, Mr. Johnson said retailers should be trained to look for anyone who buys a lot from what he described as a “long list of materials that could be used as explosive precursors.”

He said it was an extension of the “If you see something, say something” campaign launched by his predecessor, former Secretary Janet Napolitano, which tries to enlist average Americans to be aware of their immediate environment.

“We can’t and we shouldn’t prohibit the sale of a pressure cooker. We can sensitize retail businesses to be on guard for suspicious behavior by those who buy this kind of stuff,” Mr. Johnson said during a question-and-answer session after a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Other than pressure cookers, Mr. Johnson did not say what other products might appear on the guidance that will be sent to retailers.



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  • Here’s what store owners should do: If you see something, say something. If you see swarthy suspicious looking Muslims buying pressure cookers, tell the DHS that raceless individuals are buying pressure cookers, because if you say they’re Muslim, well, Islamophobia.

    • anony

      And just as canning season starts! Bummer!

    • Oil Can Harry

      Once in a blue moon I listen to Mark Levin and yesterday he made a good point: imagine you see a Muslim buying 25 boxes of nails at Home Depot and call the DHS.

      If it turns out the Muslim was using the items for home improvement and not a nail bomb then maybe Eric Holder’s (in)Justice Dept. comes after you for racial profiling.

      • Use a pay phone.

        • Who Me?

          I don’t think I’ve even seen a pay phone in the last 3-4 years. Do they even have them anymore?

          • Alexandra1973

            They went the way of the cassette and VHS, I’m afraid. There was one within walking distance in my little town and they took that out a few months ago.

          • I just walked to the Diamond Shamrock up the street. No pay phones there anymore. I am a long-term resident of northern Colorado Springs, so I will have to visit places where there used to be pay phones and see if any are left.

            The cops used to harass me pretty mercilessly when I was in my mid-20s, so I used to dial 911 from pay phones and then just leave. If they had time to harass me, I figured they had time to chase down bogus 911 calls. I never get to have any fun anymore.

          • none of your business

            Here and there about every 20 miles. But they all have CCTV and they would run it back and track you down.

          • Whirlwinder

            AT&T has pay phones in many public places. Most airports have pay phones.The Masters golf tournament prohibits the use of cell phones on the tournament grounds because AT&T is a sponsor and had hundreds of pay phones set up for fans use.

      • none of your business

        What if he was a contractor?

  • Easyrhino

    The NSA illegally tracks/archives every phone call, email and text as well as tracking the physical whereabouts of every person that owns a smart-phone and an ever expanding network of cameras recording automobile license plate locations.

    Despite this non-sensical trillion dollar security apparatus they need retailers to rat out suspicious looking people that buy cooking items? Does the DHS think a terrorist is going to pay with a check or debit card or anything other than cash?

    More non-sense!

    • 1stworlder

      Maybe they can find those IRS emails that an affirmative action employee ate.

      • They did find them. I’d like to see those liars fired and charged with obstruction of justice, but we know that won’t happen.

    • I was a big fan of oversized, illegal firecrackers in my years as a college undergrad, and we were quite creative when it came to making bomb casings. In no particular order, we used:

      Spent cardboard adding machine rolls (the ends were sealed with Bondo auto putty).
      PVC pipe.
      Empty 14-oz propane cylinders.
      Sections of the cardboard tubing that carpet comes wrapped around (Bondo again).
      Empty CO2 powerlets of the sort used for some BB guns. These make dandy cluster submunitions when glued around a larger device.
      A “Life-O-Gen” oxygen cylinder.

      Pressure cookers never occurred to us. We were interested in doing things cheaply.

      An excellent book on the subject is the U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook, ISBN 978-1-61608-384-7. Ironically, development of the techniques therein were paid for by you, the taxpayer. Another good one is The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives, by Tenny L. Davis (no ISBN number).

    • none of your business

      A lot of this work is done by subcontractors in Israel.

  • The problem isn’t pressure cookers. It’s Muslims.

    The best thing we can do is sabotage the despotic nonsense coming out of Washington by reporting every Muslim we see. I’m not sure how the program works, but Alabama has an online form on the state website to report any suspicious activity. Do it. Break the Internet by reporting every Muslim. They’re all suspicious. Let the feds chase them all down.

    • Alexandra1973

      I can imagine if you reported all blacks and Hispanics that looked suspicious….

    • KyraNelson

      If a “muslima” bothers you in a public place, just dial 911, and when (if) the police come, tell them that she left a suspicious package in the ladies room. Heh.

      • Who Me?

        A lot of those “muslimas” have no sense of personal space. They will crowd right up against you in the grocery line, look over your shoulder as you write a check or try to use your credit/debit card and enter the PIN number, or just generally breathe down the back of your neck. It’s highly annoying.

        • The answer to that is “falling” and then making a public scene because they “knocked you down”. Be loud about it and insist on pressing charges.

        • none of your business

          All middle easterners including jews and christians. The muslim, jewish, zorastarian and several varieties of Christian persians love to stand behind you in a supermarket line at 5/pm when it is crowded and poke you in the back trying to get you to move forward WHEN THERE IS NO ROOM TO MOVE FORWARD.
          It’s mostly the women who do this. Anywhere, push, push push.

  • Who Me?

    Boy, are they ever going to have fun with me! Due to a series of unfortunate events I will be replacing my old pressure cooker in the next few days. I will also be buying a few dozen canning jars of various sizes as my stock has gotten depleted over the past few years. Added to that I will be buying pectin, Fruit Fresh and sugar. I plan to make several large batches of apple butter for Christmas gifts, and will also be buying another box of pears to replace those lost in the aforementioned “unfortunate event”. Now, I don’t know if they consider making sweets as part of it, but I do know the best places to get accurate canning information is the “prepper” and “militia” and “self-sufficiency” sites on the internet. (Places where SHTF is freely discussed…) And isn’t growing corn, green beans, tomatoes, onions and several different kinds of peppers what terrorists do? Guess I am doomed to get a visit from the boys in the silk suits soon now that my local farmer’s market and hardware store are going to be spying on what I buy.

    • Katherine McChesney

      Yum, yum. Apple butter.

    • Perhaps we should all begin buying “suspicious” things, just to jack with the feds. I want a numbered and lettered metal punch set so I can stamp serial numbers on things. I really just want to put serial numbers on our bicycle frames, but Home Despot doesn’t have to know that.

      The best part about this is that we wouldn’t be the ones directly making the telephone calls or sending the emails. Some poor schleps at the retail stores would be doing it.

    • none of your business

      I only make watermelon pickles, just small batches about 8 times a year. I love watermelon and I absolutely love watermelon pickles.

  • dd121

    If the items aren’t on a list that we can see, how are we supposed to know if someone is engaging in “suspicious” behavior?

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      Well, you’d better check your shopping cart, Comrade! — because the FEDS are.

      Items that identify YOU as a terrorist (besides that you are White) might be liquid bleach, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda … even gelatin.

      You might be more dangerous than you think.

      • I wasn’t told I was on the Terrorist Watch List, but I saw it on the monitor over a city cop’s right shoulder when I was arrested again later on, in 2006.

      • dd121

        I’ve served God and Country and they still suspect me of disloyalty? Who do they trust? I was a SAC trained killer for God’s sake.

        • dmxinc

          You are disloyal to them and their goals. That’s all that counts.

        • Alexandra1973

          Welcome to 1984–30 years late!

      • Alexandra1973

        You know, Big Brother is kinda racist when you think about it. I guess only we Whites would be able to create some kind of weapon out of just about anything!

        I found out that when you poor salt into a can of pop it fizzes over. Am I a terrorist?

        • The dissolving salt would form nucleation sites for dissolution of the CO2 gas dissolved inside the liquid.

      • I’m a chemist by training, and you wouldn’t get me to make triacetone triperoxide on a bet. I recall the Castro brothers and Che Guevera once saying that everyone they ever had working on bombs eventually got killed.

      • none of your business

        Maybe time to start paying cash and to stop using those membership cards forget about the items on sale.

      • convairXF92

        >liquid bleach, hydrogen peroxide
        Now how do I kill the black mold in my bathroom?

  • Ghost

    I wonder how long it would take for a knock on the door if I went to Walmart and bought a pressure cooker, a box of nails, a bag of fertilizer and a gas can. All with cash and makeup on my arms that look like burns.

    • Buy the nails with cash at Home Despot. Wait a minute – someone is banging on the door.

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      It won’t be long before you’ll have to show ID, sign for and leave your fingerprints if you buy those items.

      Or… you’ll have to find an illegal alien or Arab with no ID to buy them for you.

  • WR_the_realist

    The police state continues. Years ago I heard about a guy who had a clogged drain. He knew of a brand of drain cleaner that was really good at unclogging drains (apparently it had a very high concentration of sodium hydroxide) so he called the company that made it and asked for a nearby store where he could buy it. He went to the store, bought the drain cleaner, and went back to his car. He was immediately surrounded by DEA agents who assumed that the only reason anyone would buy drain cleaner is to manufacture illegal drugs. Apparently the company that made it was required to snitch on all of its customers.

    The War on Drugs is bad enough. The War on Terror (for which we quite obviously will never declare victory and thus will continue forever) completes the transition to a police state. This doesn’t have much to do with race or the usual topics of this forum except this: This country’s government would much rather treat every citizen as a potential terrorist than take the obvious step of not permitting the people most likely to become terrorists to immigrate here in the first place.

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      No, not every citizen, only WHITES.

      Remember the warning from Napolitano: Terrorists are defined as White Christians, anyone who is pro- second amendment, returning vets, and “rightwing extremists” opposed to abortion and immigration.

      NOT islamo-terrorists, violent blacks who “play” the knock-out game, or those who come over the border without screening.

      • LHathaway

        It’s never racist to go after whites.

      • none of your business

        Didn’t this high ranking federal official also mention constitutionalists? You know the people who believe judges shouldn’t just make up the laws according to how they feel that day?

    • The toilet bowl cleaner I like is “pool shock”. It is a very concentrated form of bleach, which makes it ideal for cleaning toilets and swimming pools. It is also a strong oxidizer, so I suspect it would make dandy bombs.

      • Who Me?

        Pool shock cleans toilets? Good to know. I LOVE dual-purpose items, and have plenty of pool shock left over from maintaining our swimming pool during the summer.

        • It sure doesn’t take much. About a teaspoon left in the bowl for 24 hours is all that’s needed. Don’t even think about putting it in the tank, though; I imagine it would wreck the rubber and plastic parts inside.

    • none of your business

      Every time you get and fill a prescription for class 2, 3 and 4 drugs 4 separate faxes go to the DEA that same day.
      They can’t stop the messican drug cartels but they can keep track of every American Dr’s and patients meds.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    “The most dangerous terrorists in this country are White, Christian, Pro-constitution, Pro second Amendment rights people.”


    Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said his department will be issuing new guidance to retailers this week giving them pointers on how to spot potential WHITE terrorists among their customers by looking at what they’re buying….Mr. Johnson said retailers should be trained to look for WHITES who buy a lot of what he described as a “long list of materials that could be used as explosive precursors.”


    Now I’ll have to go to Mexico to buy fertilizer for my garden and forget about buying a new pressure cooker for the upcoming holidays…

  • Paleoconn

    How about we don’t let them into our country and then we wouldn’t have to spy on people’s shopping habits.

    • IstvanIN

      And that is why I could care less about this 9-11 anniversary hoopla. No one really cares about protecting the country. No one really cares about doing what needs to be done to make us safe and prosperous. Any 5’2” Amerindian can sneak in anytime he wants in broad day light, I guess that isn’t sneaking, and he receives a bigger welcome than any foreign head of state. I really think we would be better off if the whole thing fell to pieces.

  • A Freespeechzone

    Hmmmm, wonder if firearms and ammunition buyers fit their mode?

    Probably only if they are White and Conservatives that profess Faith.

    • ghettovalley

      Mark my words, eventually this insanely massive, intricate, extremely well funded anti-terror apparatus will be turned inwards. And we all know who the next “terrorists” that they start demonizing in the mass media will be. I knew this even as a young teenager with the passing of the PAT act and the creation of the DHS shortly after 9/11. The legal framework is already in place, it has been for some time. The sad thing is, the average American still doesn’t see it, and is more concerned with the latest iPhone or some stupid football team than their very life and liberty, and that of their children. It makes me sick to even think about it.

  • gsrider

    Dear DHS,
    So I’ve been on the lookout for suspicious activity always looking and always watching- until some body reported me for suspicious behavior. Now what?
    Thank you.

  • We dry things out, grind them extremely fine and then just store them in cleaned-out jars. My mother likes sandwiches with Grey Poupon mustard, so we have a lot of those jars after she emptied them. I peeled the original labels off and made new ones. Some say “Powdered Mint”. One is “Jalapeno Powder”.

    What does one do with dry “stuff”?

    The mint is one of my favorites, as we grow it out front. I dry out entire stalks, stems and leaves and then blast it to powder in a coffee grinder. It’s easy to dry things in Colorado because of the low humidity. A tablespoon of the dried mint powder on a coffee filter and then the coffee maker filled with ten cups of water and run produces a nice mint tea. When chilled, this is a great summertime drink, especially when mixed with vodka.

    I have a big patch of chives, which I also dry and then grind. These go into any recipe where I can hide them. They cost nothing, and are nutritious.

    Mustard is normally made with ground mustard seeds and white vinegar. I make jalapeno mustard by doing that with jalapeno powder. We use a lot of jalapenos here, and when I cut up the peppers, I save the stems, cores and seeds, dry them out and then grind them as a spice.

    Any normal people know how to cut back on expenses and still be quite OK, but it is very threatening when whites do that.

    • Who Me?

      Be careful to contain that mint or it will take over your whole yard, your whole block and continue spreading. It is a very invasive plant! My kitchen looks like one in a farmhouse with shelves filled with jars of home canned and dried produce, and braids of dried peppers and garlic hanging on the wall near the stove, (We use lots of garlic, too.) I have jars of dried mint, lavender, sage, dill, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, parsley and basil that I grow myself out in the back yard. I have bunches of chamomile and catnip drying right now. They make wonderful tea and I sew some of the catnip into little flannel bags, (approx 2″ square) providing a little extra Christmas gift for my friends with feline companions. I am in no way a “prepper” or “survivalist” I just love to grow and preserve stuff I want and/or need, and they provide a way for me to gift people with things that they don’t normally get anymore. (Well, not unless you go to the extremely high priced specialty gift stores.)
      Canned, spiced crab apples were something we took for granted when we were kids, now they are considered gourmet treats. A lot of the cucumbers I grow, and some of the tiny corn cobs become pickles of various types.
      Lots of syrups and jams are easily homemade and have less sugar and no HFCS, artificial flavoring or preservatives in them. You can also flavor your own vinegars with different herbs. (Buy the vinegar, and flavor with your own herbs, that is.)
      I also make all the bread we use, and for my daughter’s family as well. While I’m at it I usually put in a pan or two of cinnamon rolls or
      cupcakes. I like to bake and cook from scratch because it’s less expensive and I know that everything I use is fresh, clean, good quality and has less preservatives and chemicals in it.

      • The landscaping crew at my townhouse complex was a bit peeved when I planted the mint, but as it spreads, we just harvest more of it; it is a self-correcting problem.

        Berry bushes can be an invasive nuisance as well, but I planted the raspberry bush in a half-barrel, so the runners it is already putting out are still contained within the original barrel. A blueberry bush will go in the other barrel next year, and for the same reason. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but fresh berries on vanilla ice cream is one of my weaknesses.

        My area is full of crab apple trees, and one of my neighbors – since moved away – used them in very nice pies.

      • none of your business

        Do you make my favorite bread and butter pickles too?
        I don’t bake any more but I used to. I make everything from scratch as well. When I occasionally eat in an airport or a Denny’s type place when traveling I can’t cope with the weird gravy and weird tastes and artificial food.

        • Who Me?

          I always make a double batch of bread-n-butter pickles because I love them too. My husband loves the super tiny garlic dills, so I always make more of them, too.
          I don’t like eating out much because you never know how they cook the food, or how clean they are, or in other cases what’s in it.

  • Epiphany Strachan

    My first thought too:) DHS…”potential terrorists”???…so, what are white people buying these days? I’m in the market for an iwatch- the one with a little baby button for a little baby bomb.

  • Alexandra1973

    That’s racist! Black people gots ta shop, ya know!

  • Funny you should use that description, because in my collection of empty hot sauce bottles, I have “Religious Experience Apocalypse sauce”. Other good ones were “Dave’s Insanity Sauce” and “PAIN 100%”. The last bottle now serves as a hip flask. Indian Naga Jalokia peppers have Habaneros beat by a mile, so we are slowly working through a bottle of Melinda’s.

    It’s actually pretty funny when one considers that those pepper plants evolved the spicy taste in order to prevent animals from eating them, and now people plant them on purpose, just to eat them.

  • The behaviour that American people should really be scrutinising as being harmful is that of their own government. I suggest the same for my own too, for that matter.

  • I see that the madness is gripping America more and more, just like Britain.

    Here, in many stores, you cannot really buy a set of kitchen knives without providing ID as being over 18, no doubt because they may be used to stab somebody. However, you can buy a very large flat bladed screwdriver from the same shops with no bother at all.

    As others have said, it is not the items that are the problem, it is the people that aim to misuse them. All sorts of things can be turned into deadly items, so where do they plan on drawing the line?

    Furthermore, what do they plan to do next? Intercept every parcel just in case some Muslims have ordered such a cooker off Amazon? Force internet buyers to order via webcam so they can see if they are “behaving properly” when buying?

  • none of your business

    What about all that salt and sugar and vinegar for canning? Is that on the list too? To say nothing of the lids, metal that could be used to cut someone.

  • guest

    The extent of covert video surveillance in America is huge and seemingly not yet
    sinking into the awareness of most Americans.

  • Who Me?

    I live in the northwest, (Washington state) where I was born and raised, and have lived most of my life….

  • none of your business

    What is so unreal about those remembrances is that most national TV is based in NYC Manhattan. I mean they were there and they still blather on about it was only 19 muslims and had nothing to do with islam

  • teaisstronger eleven

    What about anti-tank weapons. Is there a limit to how many can be bought at the local Home Depot?