Bumbled Countersurveillance Effort – Protecting FedEx from John Doe

A very badly Bumbled Counter-surveillance Effort at FedEx’s Memphis Facility was described to me this weekend.  In an effort protecting FedEx large aircraft facility from any old John Doe taking pictures, a young professional American Citizen was detained and field interrogated for simply taking photos from the Airport public area.

Every possible intelligence opportunity, if this young man had been an extremely brazen & stupid terrorist operative, was lost when the Airport police mustered no less than EIGHT units in response. 

Let us set aside the obvious problem with bullying a citizen engaged openly in a common & absolutely legal observation of an Airport from the public zone. 

On the Counter-surveillance/Counterintelligence angles the inappropriate response revealed:

  • Level of Situational Awarness of Security
  • Response Time
  • Resources Available for Trivial matters.
  • The willingness of Security to Trample Citizen’s Rights (which shows a high level fear or threat concern on Security’s part).
  • That Security is operating at a Police Level without Counter-surveillance or Counterintelligence Oversight.

The grandstand response not only played out security’s cards for all to see, but lost the chance to “work” the situation. 

If there was a potential issue with taking pictures from a public area, would it not be better to learn who the photos were for, who the photographers were, what was actually going on, and perhaps dismantle a threat?

One cannot begin to understand why Security would risk giving away so much for nothing more than what could be seen as harassment? 

Were they simply “picking the low fruit” in escalating a non-event into something they can write up & take credit for?

Or did they simply make a mistake?

After sending eight units, lights on, to detain, they threatened the subject (who they did NOT arrest) with calling in the FBI, hinting that this would be really bad for the subject.

The intimidation didn’t relent even when they learned their subject was a FedEx employee!

So lets recap – you can be engaged at a legal activity from a public area at Memphis Airport and be detained without being arrest, without being given your rights, and with threat of having “The Feds” called in to work you over.

All despite being a US Citizen doing something perfectly legal?

And our “Guardians” in the process of trampling the constitution are willing to give up almost every operational secret & advantage?

One wonders if George Orwell wrote the script for this mistake.


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