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08 October, 2010

Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back

Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back | Threat Level | Wired.com: "A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real, whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism investigation and what the authorities would do.

It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted their expensive device back, the student told Wired.com in an interview Wednesday.

The answer came when half-a-dozen FBI agents and police officers appeared at Yasir Afifi’s apartment complex in Santa Clara, California, on Tuesday demanding he return the device.

Afifi, a 20-year-old U.S.-born citizen, cooperated willingly and said he’d done nothing to merit attention from authorities. Comments the agents made during their visit suggested he’d been under FBI surveillance for three to six months.

An FBI spokesman wouldn’t acknowledge that the device belonged to the agency or that agents appeared at Afifi’s house...

... Afifi considered selling the device on Craigslist before the FBI showed up. He was in his apartment Tuesday afternoon when a roommate told him 'two sneaky-looking people' were near his car. Afifi, already heading out for an appointment, encountered a man and woman looking at his vehicle outside. The man asked if Afifi knew his registration tag was expired. When Afifi asked if it bothered him, the man just smiled. Afifi got into his car and headed for the parking lot exit when two SUVs pulled up with flashing lights carrying four police officers in bullet-proof vests.

The agent who initially spoke with Afifi identified himself then as Vincent and told Afifi, 'We’re here to recover the device you found on your vehicle. It’s federal property. It’s an expensive piece, and we need it right now.'

Afifi asked, 'Are you the guys that put it there?' and the agent replied, 'Yeah, I put it there.' He told Afifi, 'We’re going to make this much more difficult for you if you don’t cooperate.'..."


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