A letter from an Iranian friend ...
Something interesting (funny but alarming) happened to me today. I got back from my Nicaragua trip yesterday and had a FBI card waiting for me at the door with a message for me to call back! OK I have been "randomly" selected before at school for engineer/scientist screening they have and I had heard that they are doing it quite often these days so I thought this is one of them. So i wasn't terribly concerned.
I called the guy and left a message for him. Today he calls back and he apologizes for the inconvenience and says it is not a big deal and he just needs to ask few questions. I tell him that I am familiar with this "random" screening and it is OK. He says no this is another story. After asking what my status is and where i am from and what i do, he asks me if i travel a lot and I say yes and he asks me domestic or international and I say both. Work or Pleasure? Both...And here goes the story:
In one of my travels, I am writing some notes in a language that is not English. The person next to me is alarmed. I also have a Time magazine that I am reading. It has my name and address on it. She/He writes takes the info from there. Calls FBI and informs them. The FBI guy told me that the person told them that I had also written in English: " I am learning a lot from these flights" and this might be made up but he wants to know if it is true. I laugh hard. I usually write e-mail to friends that i haven't written for a while on trips and save them on my laptop and send it when i get Internet access. I vaguely remember writing something about reading and learning a lot during my long flights to somebody.
The FBI guys says that he knows this is ridiculous but wants to know if I have any bad intentions towards United states? I laugh again and say if me saying No will suffice. The guy says Yes and I say OK No; and he says I believe you!
He apologizes again and tells me if i ever needed any help to call him.
The whole story leaves me wondering . It is stupid to the point that makes you laugh but then you start wondering these type of stupidities can really cause serious problems.
Anyway, I just wanted to share it with you and to let you know to be aware when you are using your "non-English" language when writing or talking on your cell phones on the plane ...