DHS, IRS ANNOUNCE “SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” PARTNERSHIP
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service have joined forces in a bold new partnership to empower Americans to stop terrorism and crime.
Under the banner of the “See Something, Say Something” program, the two agencies will work together to teach citizens ways to help identify potential terrorists or prevent criminals from carrying out their grisly deeds.
“I am proud to work with the Internal Revenue Service on this important public awareness campaign,” said Secretary Janet Napolitano. “No agency is more qualified to ask penetrating, probing, and embarrassing questions of seemingly innocent people.”
The announcement comes on the heels of the Boston Marathon bombing and crime spree, which killed four Americans including a police officer, and the escape of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight from their 10-year hostage ordeal in Cleveland.
“Suspicious behavior occurs every day in America,” said Lois Lerner, director of the IRS’s exempt-organizations division. “It may look harmless, such as a Facebook post with the word ‘patriot’ in it or a car with a ‘TEA PARTY’ license plate. But it is potentially deadly.”
The first phase of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign consists of citizens asking questions of their friends, neighbors, and family members. These innocuous-sounding questions can help determine whether a trusted compatriot is actually an enemy of the state.
“Check out my new iPhone 5, Ariel. It’s hard to see the screen in the bright sun. Can we go inside your house where it’s darker?”
“Hey Tamerlan, the R.A. is coming down the stairs. Can I hide my bong in your backpack?”
“Senator Marco Rubio says immigrants ought to ‘come out of the shadows.’ Do you know anyone like that Pedro? Your brother Ariel perhaps?”
“I just bought a new book, Dzhokhar. It’s by Salman Rushdie. What do you think of him?”
“That’s a beautiful little girl you’re holding hands with, Ariel. But I’ve never seen her mother. Do you think I can meet her?”
The second phase involves thinking quickly on your feet. If someone — say, a college roommate or a neighbor — acts in a way that disturbs you, come up with a pretext to escape the situation. Do not be afraid to hurt feelings. Then contact the authorities.
“Wow, that’s an impressive collection of fireworks in your dorm room, Tamerlan. Let’s make sure the fire marshal knows about it.”
“Yes, Ariel, I’ve seen Pulp Fiction. Oh, the ‘Gimp’ scene is your favorite? Shoot, if I don’t leave now the Wal-mart will close.”
“Do I want to help you destroy your computer? Well, no, Dzhokhar, I’ve got math mid-terms tomorrow. I’m going to turn in now.”
“No, Ariel, I did not see a woman waving frantically from your second-floor window. Excuse me while I call my wife to make sure she made it home safely. Why did I dial only three numbers? Uh, well….”
ASK A BUREAUCRAT:
The third stage of the campaign will be instituted within the two agencies. A series of common-sense questions will be posed to bureaucrats with the power to make a difference.
“This young man is on a terrorist watch list, Steve. Don’t you think he should be on the no-fly list as well?”
“Linda, when you’re finished harassing the local Tea Party Patriots, come take a look at these two students from Chechnya.”
“Councilman Smith, you voted to make your town a ‘Sanctuary City’ where illegal immigrants cannot be questioned by federal ICE agents. Are you crazy or just stupid?”
Officials predicted strong public support for the groundbreaking awareness campaign.
“You can ask these questions when you’re barbecuing, eating ribs, tinkering with a car, or playing with a dog,” said Charles Ramsey, the good samaritan who rescued the missing women. “The answers you get? Dead giveaway.”
John K. Herr is a Washington D.C.-based speechwriter and standup comedian (stage name “Herricane”). He has written for three governors and four Cabinet secretaries, and wrote jokes for President George W. Bush. He can be reached by email (email@example.com), or follow him on Twitter (@jherricane).