“We have all the information we needed,” they told him. “You don’t need to call your lawyer. Don’t worry, you’re boring. “
Ah, the banality of evil. Yasir Afifi is a student from California who, because of his father’s apparent ties to something Middle Eastern, was being tracked on a thirty day warrant by the FBI. After he found the tracking device in his car – apparently an older model that allowed detection – a buddy of his posted it to Reddit and the meme spread around the world. This week the FBI came around to ask for its toy back.
Afifi considered selling the device on Craigslist before the FBI showed up. He was in his apartment Tuesday afternoon when a roommate told him “two sneaky-looking people” were near his car. Afifi, already heading out for an appointment, encountered a man and woman looking his vehicle outside. The man asked if Afifi knew his registration tag was expired. When Afifi asked if it bothered him, the man just smiled. Afifi got into his car and headed for the parking lot exit when two SUVs pulled up with flashing lights carrying four police officers in bullet-proof vests.
The agent who initially spoke with Afifi identified himself then as Vincent and told Afifi, “We’re here to recover the device you found on your vehicle. It’s federal property. It’s an expensive piece, and we need it right now.”
I’m all for law and order, friends. Track away, FBI! Follow human traffickers and murders to the ends of the earth. However, to track a 20-year-old citizen with no ties to anything remotely dangerous and then treat the activity like a joke (“Don’t worry, you’re boring” is probably the most sinister line I’ve heard in years) is an affront to the laws they are sworn to uphold. Maybe the FBI agents had egg on their face. After all, kids aren’t supposed to find your tracking device. Or maybe the FBI really didn’t care and attached the tracker on a lark, just a fishing expedition because they had little else to do that month.
Either way, the fact that an American citizen with dubious ties to anything dangerous or remotely controversial deserves this sort of treatment is disgusting.