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.