If you’re in Starbucks and notice a nondescript individual paying for their coffee with cash – watch out. According to the FBI you might have found evidence of a terrorist plot.

A series of fliers distributed to companies around the United States by the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Assistance appear to give workers and business owners exactly this advice. The fliers, as highlighted by the miscellania blog BoingBoing, are intended to help various businesses from hobby shop owners to car rental services identify suspicious people who might be involved in terrorist activity.

They have been collected online by the Public Intelligence collaborative research project, and are not normally released en masse by the FBI.

“Using cash for small purchases like a cup of coffee, gum and other items is a good indication that a person is trying to pass for normal without leaving the kind of paper trail created using a debit or credit card for small purchases.

The most recent update asks coffee shop owners, baristas and other customer-service specialists to be on the lookout for the enemy who walks among us (who evidently has been reanimated from the graves of the 1950s Red Scare era of blacklisting and Communist-baiting or the KGB’s constant witch hunt for capitalist sympathizers or people who resent being witch-hunted for their political beliefs). “

The best part is, we get to pay for this stuff….ya gotta love that.

See more FUD flyers at Public Intelligence.



  1. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Really? That seems so impossibly stupid that even we would not be doing it. In effect, everyone in the USA is a suspected terrorist? I go out of my way to pay in cash to speed up the line and to not leave a paper trail for identity theft—oops.

    DHS must have a lot of time on their hands. Why not just say: any dark skinned young male and provide authorization to shoot on sight?

    • kiwini says:

      Quote/ Really? That seems so impossibly stupid that even we would not be doing it. /Uhnquote

      With an entrenched Liberal Monarchy as ours has become, it’s really no surprise at all.

      1) It’s just another way to condition the masses into accepting eternal observation from the all-knowing ones. “Pay it our way, so we can easily track you via your electronic accounts.”

      Freedom disappears one small sliver at a time…

      2) If needed, it can be morphed into another tool of distraction, so the coming vote in November will become even more polarized.

      Divide and conquer. Were it possible, they’d just publicly crucify a few of us, and (in theory) the rest would fall into the state-approved “line” of thought.

      3) They’re spending OUR money, not their own, so why should they worry?…that way they can add even more employees to the malignant Government payrolls, and call it an employment program.

      Win-win for them, right?.

      Gotta agree with you about this part, however: “I go out of my way to pay in cash to speed up the line and to not leave a paper trail for identity theft—oops.”

      I guess that means we’re both terrorists. :)

      Finally, before anyone tries to blame/give credit for any of this to the Anointed One’s predecessors, this shit’s happening/floating to the surface on HIS watch, and any sort of bad behavior by said predecessors has been taken to a new level at HIS direction.

      Hope and change?……

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        kiwini–I think you are part of the problem allowing this all to get out of control. The issue here is about entrenched power becoming enthralled by the ring: One Ring to control them All. Its not about left/right or Dems/Pukes–its about anyone with power against those without.

        Nothing happens in Washington right now without both parties agreeing.

        Yes, bureaucracies accrete power and need a firm hand, usually budget constraints, to reign them in.

        I’ve heard rumors one of the best tv series ever may be re-issed/updated: Yes, Prime Minister. All about the civil service and their constant fight against elected craven officials interested only in getting elected, the bureaucrats only interested in power. Revealing, funny.

        • dusanmal says:

          “Nothing happens in Washington right now without both parties agreeing.” – and there lies the root of the deception. It is what binds together fractions of the Left and Right in search for more Government power that is dangerous: Progressivism. There are Marxist aspects of the Left (with current Administration at the helm) and Fascist aspects of the Right (with remnant of the previous administration at the helm) who both hunger for the all-doing-all-powerful-all-controlling Government. That coalition is what is driving this shit. Not both parties agreeing but Progressive fractions of both parties agreeing (and having enough clout to do so). Even couple of Independent fakers participate (all “Independent” members of Senate are not really independent – they are Progressives all day long).
          It is time for coalition of Tea Party and Blue Dogs to fight back. Both maligned by the Progressive media and Progressive Hollywood. But, those are our Obi Van Kenobies.

          • deowll says:

            I’ll leave it with the gutless power hungry bleeps running both parties seem to want to put everyone under constant 24 hr surveillance and have a regulation requiring permission in advance to breath.

            Rights? They don’t believe in rights.

          • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

            Well Douche–I agree with the “attitude” you post with but can’t you read? And if you can read, can’t you be responsive rather than submitting verision 117 of your talking points?

            You still want to make this issue of overreaching government one of partisan politics.

            And THAT is exactly how patisan politics is having its way. Both parties, all? – parties??==committing the most heinous of actions and then simply blaming the other side/some other side.

            We need “good” government which might be defined as transparent, honest, responsive to the majority.

            All other labels need not apply.

            wise up.

  2. McCullough says:

    Of course this all about a cashless society and tracking every purchase. Good for the banks, good for the corps, good for the Intelligence services.

    Bad for sheep.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Ahh–that does make sense. Everyone to have a gps tracking cell phone in order to exist in society. I’m really trying to avoid that and FacedBook. Interesting to see how many “free” softwares and offers/coupons/articles now need a FacedBook account to access.

      I think you are on to something here Mc-C. At least, it makes sense.

      • pedro says:

        Of course it makes sense. I can hear the sound of personal liberties fall at the sound of the chorus of the “i” generation chanting at unison “kewl!”

    • ± says:

      “cashless society” will never happen. The politicians who control whether this happens are the very ones who will be hurt the most by it (trackless bribes, graft, etc.).

  3. eighthnote says:

    And so the slippery slope continues. I wonder if they’re coaching grocery stores too. This is messed up in so many ways.

  4. deowll says:

    P.S. I think it was JCD who mentioned that the people who shop at Walmart mostly pay cash. I guess that makes all of those people obvious suspects and JCD has noted that to reduce spending he and his wife both pay cash so they are surely on the list.

  5. hmeyers says:

    Starbucks is a waste of money.

    Of course, in the future I’ll be labelled a terrorist for not going to Starbucks …

    I’ll be accused of being a subversive and “not caring about the economy” and told I have a duty as a citizen to participate in the over-priced segment of the economy because “I have a duty as a citizen to stimulate economic growth.”

  6. NobodySpecial says:

    From now on I’m going to pay for my coffee with a personal check.

    Yes it’s going to take 5 mins and delay the rest of the queue – but if it protects America from international terrorism surely it’s worth your latte foam going a little flat?

  7. AdmFubar says:

    those that pay with cash are of course terrorist… the bank and credit issuers are terrified of not getting their cut on some purchase you make.. so they will make it illegal to use cash.. first off let say everyone that uses cash is a terrorist, now when you use credit/debit the banks will get their cut. hell it is illegal to make a cash transaction at flea markets/ yard sales etc.. in Louisianan…( i think it is there where the law was passed)

  8. Mr Clever says:

    “who evidently has been reanimated from the graves of the 1950s Red Scare era of blacklisting and Communist-baiting or the KGB’s constant witch hunt for capitalist sympathizers or people who resent being witch-hunted for their political beliefs”
    I think you find the catholics are the new “jew”, the rampant scottish protestant Eidard will supply instructions. he is still seething over the irish getting partial self rule.

  9. Mr Clever says:

    “god save the queen” and “no surrender”, eh, eidard?

  10. Mr Clever says:

    bring back Operation Demetrius eidard?
    happy days for you i’m sure.

  11. Mr Clever says:

    in your defense eidard, you’re no worse than the the repulsive apologist scum like stephen fry, christopher hitchens and richard dawkins who write off this inconvenient british episode as “a religious war”.

  12. Peppeddu says:

    What difference does it make?

    A terrorist cannot get a credit/debit card?
    Even if they do get the name of a suicide terrorist, what they’re gonna do, get the body parts and throw them in jail?

    The problem is the intelligence (or lack of) the FBI and CIA.
    They had all the names and wereabouts of all the guys of 911 and they did…. nothing.

    Oh, and most of them had also credit cards.

  13. Mr Clever says:

    as for what difference does it make, wasn’t it obama’s rhetoric that anti US terrorism was the fault of Bush policy, and that the problem would be solved by moderate and liberal democrat policy in the mid-east which would endear the arabs to the benevolent americans and therefore allow for the removal of gitmo and the patriot act?
    or was that just some bullshit lie to achieve power?

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Not so Clever==why change what “difference” is being referred to just to slam Obama on a point that is argumentative?

      I don’t mind that you are off topic and hijacking this thread by being partisan and rather nonsensical. What I mind is that by revealing your agenda so shamelessly and needlessly you have destroyed any credibility you might have when on point.

      Same with whatever that red scare/jewish/Operation demetrius stuff you dumped onto this thread. Keep your powder dry and you’ll do a solid for everyone involved.

  14. Schleprock says:

    No Mr. Clever. I think if you listen to the actual words coming out of Obama’s mouth , instead of the “creative interpretation” provided by Hanity, O’Reillyand Limbaugh, it might clarify things.
    Try this one excersize when listening to any commentator(including me)… If someone starts a sentence with a phrase like, “The president thinks…”, just disregard everything they say. Unless, of course, the reason you listen to said commentator is that you believe they are a sorcerer or mind reader.
    I have to laugh when I hear people complaining about the loss of their rights under this administration. Especially when they are on one of thousands of forums like this one, expressing their first amendment protected opinions.
    The federal government isn’t going to disappear you for dropping coins into a condom dispenser until they finish confiscating ten ka-jillion firearms from Americans who don’t want to give them up.

  15. UncDon says:

    Hmmm… No flyers regarding strange men in black outfits with a notched collar and strange white insert behind the notch eyeballing and smiling broadly at your son when you pass by a church. Those guys are really creepy and I think the FBI should know.

  16. spsffan says:

    Well, clearly, anyone regularly buying that nasty European style coffee at Starbucks (aka Stankywicz) is unamerican. I mean really, the infiltration of such nasty coffee, (even into McDonald’s!!!) is a sure sign that the United States of American is turning into Italy, or even worse, France!

    Who cares what patrons of Starbucks pay with. They are subversives anyway.

    Now, on a more serious note, the FBI has to produce such literature in order to justify itself. One or two Mrs. Kravits types will pay attention and report someone slipping a barrista a fin, but nobody else will give a rat’s patootie.

  17. Janet Dyke says:

    So, whenever you are in a Starbucks, and “see” somebody paying cash, you HAVE to “say something”. The thing to do is to immediately call you local DHS office and report it.

    “Hello, is this the DHS?”
    “Yes”
    “I just saw a terrorist suspect pay cash at the Starbucks on (any) street”.
    “Oh?”
    “Yes, please hurry”.

    About ten thousand calls a day might keep the turds busy.

  18. I have to use cash to buy coffee, it’s the only thing I can lift from the plate.

  19. team_america says:

    Did you read through any of that crap. It’s exactly what a terrorist ass-wipe needs! A list of behaviors to avoid and great ideas. What number fertilized for bombs, get usable chemicals at beauty supply stores, remote detonators at hobby shops, night vision goggles at home improvement stores??????

    Guess if you job is finding terrorists you want to make sure to not run out of bad guys!

  20. Glenn E. says:

    This is just a ploy to get more citizens to use either a credit card or debit card, for all small purchases. That way you can be tracked. Cash and coin purchases can’t be tracked, unless ATMs start keeping track of the serial numbers of bill they give you. And then the cashiers scan every bill they receive, at point of purchase. But that would all be very time consuming to set up. Whereas the existing plastic money cards already have tracking built into their approval system.

    I’d be in favor if creating a no ID debt card. That one could add value to at anytime. Like some reusable gift cards, but generic and accepted everywhere as a non-sponsored debit card. And you would not be IDed everytime you used it anywhere. But it would still require knowing a Pin number or password. In case it was stolen.

    I think as Americas we should insist of such a payment instrument, being a real option. And not having to rely solely on the existing credit and debit cards, that ID us everywhere we go. Because we have NO idea to what purpose this tracking information will be put to. It could end up being sold as marketing data. If you buy a donut and coffee at a 7-11, next door to an adult bookstore, with a standard credit or debit card. Some schlock tracking software might put two and two together, and assume you frequent said bookstore. The next thing you know, you’re on some database for sexual exploitation or child porn hating. You just never know what extreme this crap can be put to. When jerks are out to make a name for themselves, or satisfy their sick need for revenge.

    The US government must be gearing up to be just such a big brother citizen stalker, since it wants to keep better track of everything you pay for. And where and when you paid for it.

    If you want to stay ahead of the game. You might want to invest is several days worth of non-perishable and portable food items. Buying them now, when you’re not being tracked, so you’ll have them handy whenever they decide to come after you. Then you can get by for a few days, on the run, without being spotted on store cameras, buying food. Cameras which the authorities could be tapped into by now, or very soon will be.

    Keep some emergency cash too. And maybe some gas. Don’t wait until you need it, and the ATM and filing station pump cameras are looking to spot you. Welcome to the 21st century. If you think you’re being paranoid, you may not be paranoid enough.

    • Glenn E. says:

      I should add, that I seriously doubt the US will ever allow any new form of non-ID debit cards to compete with current cards. And I’m sure those places that accept gift cards, probably video snapshot everyone who uses them, just as a “security precaution”. And one day their use for small item purchases, will be tagged as a terrorist pattern too. The way big brother thinks, we’re all potential terrorists, for using trackless payment instruments. Even diamonds get laser etched numbers for sales tracking. Not for theft protection. What a lie that scam is!

      • George says:

        As a matter of fact purchases are recorded on video and linked to transaction details on your receipt.

        I went to a warehouse club last year and after I returned home I realized that I did not bring home all the items I had purchased. I returned the next week and requested that they credit me for the purchase. The CSR took the receipt and radioed to security to review the video of the transaction the week before. Apparently, they verified that all my items were not put in my cart and they issued my refund.

        I have no doubt that the mega-retailers record ALL transactions. I’m sure it would be no problem for them to forward images of every cash purchase of “items of interest” to the governmental overseers.

        • CrankyGeeksFan says:

          Banks announce that a video record is being made of a transaction.

          Do stores announce this?

  21. sargasso_c says:

    Anyone who orders a decafe soy latte is definitely an agent of anarchy. Just MHO.

    • pedro says:

      And you’d be right.

    • Chris says:

      Speaking as someone who identifies as an anarchist, I’ll have you know I hate lattes. Haha, I don’t have to worry about this much, though, since I hate coffee in general. Though, I do use cash a lot… I guess Big Brother isn’t happy when I refuse to pay with credit.

  22. Benjamin says:

    Well as a Ron Paul supporter, DHS already said I am a terrorist, so paying with cash for a coffee will not be a big deal. Besides, who pays for purchases less than $20.00 with a debit/credit card? No one sane does. How do you track your balance with as many low dollar transactions as people make in a day?

    • CrankyGeeksFan says:

      A purchase of less than $20.00 on a credit or debit card doesn’t even require a signature or PIN. Using cards where these small amount transactions take place – convenience stores, fast food restaurants, etc. is exposing oneself to a high possibility of identity theft.

      PCI is an abbreviation for the Payment Card Industry. Their standard for security was once half-jokingly referred to as “pay cash instead”.

  23. m.seekamp says:

    Sick country !!

  24. Taxed Enough Already Dude says:

    From their perspective, wanting to control us, anyone paying cash is dangerous.

    They will spin this every chance they get, to change the nexus, just as they have other statist advances…keep speaking lies till they seem like truth.

    Cash = freedom from Government, therefore its the enemy. Perhaps that’s why Bernanke is destroying it.

    • Taxed Enough Already Dude says:

      No doubt the propaganda press will spin out articles on the danger of cash, how its the font of all terrorism and crime…just like other progressive lies, it will be heard 24/7 till the mushheads believe it…

      Ron Paul would defeat this, Romney may very well go along with it, leaving the Czars to accomplish it under the radar…time will tell.

  25. Martin says:

    I actually prefer to pay for expensive items in cash, just to see the bewildered look on the salesclerk’s face when you whip out a big wad of bills. Like when I bought a Mac Mini at a local Apple store, the girl was all set to swipe a credit/debit card, and I took out cash instead.

  26. More importantly – there are only THREE DOTS in a typographers’ elipses. Cash payments indeed, let’s root out the real threats on our society by exposing improper typesetting – NOW!

  27. Micromike says:

    If you use cash for anything other than bribing a senator or congressman you are considered a terrorist.

    The game has changed. The US hates freedom and democracy, and makes all decisions based on fear.