After my passport numbers went up on line from my favorite travel agency, these hits about my itinerary overseas above were then followed by the same from the FBI’s national research center near Fairmont / Clarksburg WV (CJIS), the largest institution of the agency for centralized info on criminal justice. This is something new, as I’ve learned to expect just a visit from the George Bush Center for Intelligence with a server named so as to be seen. Courteous. I can feel the love! But what changed so as to occasion CJIS?
FBI-Atlanta was kind enough to let me know the other week that I’m involved with the DARPA – COMPASS program. That may have replaced my original decades old perpetual interdepartmental cannot-be-unmasked-for-more-details program of tracking that Main State and later the FBI described to me with a letter and then an alternative identity (effectively a third!) without me asking for it. The COMPASS program carries a certain risk. A target of COMPASS, i.e., a person of interest, can be such because of being at risk or as constituting a risk. Since I’ve always been treated extraordinarily well, I’m guessing I’m in the at risk category, and COMPASS, as DARPA’s new toy, is the now by far the most effective mathematical analysis prediction “machine” (if you will) concerning individuals somehow in the midst of gray zone activities. It’s much easier to just throw me in the mix and forget about it along with the now small multitude of ambiguous characters. That’s what COMPASS is for: easing the burden of work, doing more with less.
In that case, I’m guessing that the tracking promised by Main State in the early 1990s has been delegated to the usual CAPPS systems which continuously updates passenger name records (PNR) for everyone on any given flight manifest. If there’s a high enough risk score attached to that PNR, an inquiry is automatically sent along to the TSA of DHS and, when they are frustrated at being locked out as to why there is a high score, they send the inquiry along. It’s imagined that CJIS can come up with a reason for the high risk score, and, pushing a bit more when that’s found to be untrue, the inquiry is simply overruled by Main State and I’m cleared for the flight, all updating in the COMPASS spreadsheets for use in their surely infallible algorithms. ;-)
So, it’s highly doubtful that there will be a pesky no-fly list notification while, ticket in hand, I attempt to get a gate and confirmed seat assignment at Hartsfield-Jackson international terminal. After all, I’m forever “accompanied”, to use Pope Francis’ terminology, on flights since as long as I can remember, back into the 1980s. I’ve never been on any SSSS or TSDB lists as far as I know, though in 1990 and then again in 2009 some entirely expected fun was to be had at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion. Smiling chutzpah always wins the day.
The last time I went through the TSA shake down in Atlanta the agents instead stepped waaaay back and let me and my carry-on stuff pass totally unchecked despite plenty of metal in the carry-on stuff and literally many pounds of surgical metal holding my leg together. When I protested their lack of concern about the carry-on stuff and all the metal I had on me they instead said that it didn’t matter, and that I could go through, that I’m good, because their checking me didn’t matter. That just left me bewildered. Less checking than for the pilot, the only other guy in line. It’s not like they were busy…
My seating is always switched out at the last second so as to place me with diplomats (with their usual retinue) or with various branches of the military or with Federal Air Marshals or of other reps of institutes and agencies, always. Or maybe these are the only people who fly these days. One memory in particular regards a most polite and well mannered diplomat who enlisted my help to get safely to the Excelsior in Rome, a kind of beyond the star system hotel next to the U.S. Embassy, reminiscent of the “Continental” of John Wick fame. Goodness!
My usual unusual accompaniment during the flight should be more interesting than the usual interestingness.
Some would wish good luck, good fortune. No. Life has nothing to do with such imagined things as hoped by the creators of the all-power-encompassing COMPASS program, which, ironically, is based entirely on chance, luck, the demon goddess “Fortuna.” What a living hell that is…
Instead, everything has come together seemingly miraculously, in the Providence of our Lord, with the ministrations of the angels, to ensure that what needs to be done is accomplished. But after that, it seems to me, I’ll be quite on my own. But that’s O.K. That’s also according to the will of the Lord. And I’m happy with that.