Everyone’s heard the falafel story by now:
The FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.
The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.
However, as the astute commenter, r@d@r points out on Krugman’s blog:
interesting assumption, considering the fact that one of the more prominent brands of falafel in this town is a kosher one, made by israeli immigrants.
Maybe if They hadn’t abbreviated it to “humint,” there would still be some humans in the system who could apply some intelligence to the ill-gotten garbage coming in.
cross-posted to Shakesville