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Submission + - Dislike a Relative? Turn Them in as a Terrorist! 9

Stanislav_J writes: A Swedish man who had less than fond feelings for his daughter's hubby, took advantage of the son-in-law's trip to America by reporting him to the FBI as a terrorist. The e-mail, which the father-in-law admits to sending, earned him a libel charge after his poor son-in-law was arrested on his arrival in Florida, handcuffed, interrogated, and placed in a cell for 11 hours before being released.

It's a brief article, but dovetails nicely with the recent Slashdot story about "The War on the Unexpected." That article touched on many examples of well-meaning, but misguided and paranoid citizens reporting innocent activities to the authorities. In the current climate, the potential also exists for maliciously false and far from well-meaning reports made to the Feds about people one simply doesn't care for, or those made merely as a sick prank.

While the man admitted to sending the e-mail to the FBI, he claims he thought no harm would come from it because "he did not think the US authorities would be stupid enough to believe him." To quote the great philosopher Bugs Bunny, 'Nyahh....he don't know us very well, do he?'
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Dislike a Relative? Turn Them in as a Terrorist!

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  • "he did not think the US authorities would be stupid enough to believe him."
    So one has to ask the question of just why he sent it in the first place.
    • by steli ( 222208 )
      I agree it was a stupid prank (if you can really call it a prank) but according to an article I read, he thought the (ex?) son-in-law would get off with some extra "attention" at landing. Not put into a cell, interrogated and sent back to Sweden. He probably didn't believe US authorities would take his unsubstantiated word as grounds for expulsion...
      • by sehlat ( 180760 )
        It was a vicious libel. Considering that there ARE penalties in the US for filing false reports with the police, perhaps the father-in-law should be extradited and given some "extra attention" upon HIS arrival.
      • It doesn't really matter what he thought the son-in-law would get. He knowingly made a false accusation. It could have seriously hurt the guy's reputation, and certainly did waste a lot of time and energy on the part of law enforcement. The FBI isn't funded as a global prank hotline.

        That doesn't mean that the law enforcement is necessarily being smart here. If they went through with actually arresting someone for one totally unsubstantiated claim, imagine the chaos that could be caused by a group delibe
  • Supposedly, most "drop a dime" arrests of drugs dealers are sourced to competitors.

    And awhile back I saw a story about clans in Afghanistan not bothering to exact vengeance themselves; they just report the people they want hit as terrorists to the Americans, sit back, and wait for the air strike. Further proof that government intervention in the Free Market leads to laziness.

    How are the people on the inside exploiting the "Global" "War" on "Terror"---I mean, beside making lots of money and getting a countr
    • by rakslice ( 90330 )
      Hehehe... I tend to suspect that in the community of people who threaten to blow each other up for a living, the markets are a little skewed, and those who find themselves with all the good weapons are pretty lazy.
  • This could have happened 20 years ago (substituting a letter instead of email) and the exact same thing would have happened. Accusations of terrorism by a visiting foreigner are taken very seriously. They should be. What is defective here is the idiot who falsely accused someone of terrorism.
  • The son now has grounds for suing the US govt for gazillions of dollars. ( And he'd win it if I were on the jury ). For all we know, they cooked this up together and father in law will get half. The father in law takes almost zero risk for doing this. His own country has no motive to prosecute, and the US won't try to extradite.
    • by TamCaP ( 900777 )
      I don't think the son would get any money. As a non-US citizen arriving in US, he has alm^H^H^H no rights when arriving in the US. Sad truth :-(

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken