a thoughtful web.
Good ideas and conversation. No ads, no tracking.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  805 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 9, 2022

Tusks, the epilogue

My sister and I are pushing a multi-part plan involving getting old people into assistive living and clearing out vacant properties. So far we're winning every battle. My mother and stepfather are safely ensconced in an environment where people make them food and keep them safe. I've got a senior move manager wargaming over their shit, three contractors and two real estate agents eager to step in and move it. I've even got the tribe happy and cool with whatever's going on and with any luck, some tribal members involved in the cleanup and repair.

The other side of course is dealing with my father's house, which we're ostensibly emptying and preparing for my mother's eventual return to independent living. It'll never happen but the carrot of "going rent for this house is about what the bitch is taking out of your pension every month" is useful. Of course my father is a hoarder so that's a delicate dance on its own.

My sister called my father last Saturday to say she was coming out, she was bringing a van, should she grab anything else, beer, cardboard boxes, a rad counter ha ha, anything like that. My dad said

"funny story"

I guess three or four months ago the FBI showed up on his doorstep. Eighteen of them. With rad counters and a warrant. They had received an "internet tip" that there might be some fissile material to account for.

My father invited them in, let them search around, told them maybe they could push a broom while they were at it, give the place the kind of going over it hadn't had in years. He let them get just about done and then said

"Of course the house you're really looking for is the other one. Here, I'll give you the address."

...and sent them on their merry way to sweep the actual house from top to bottom.

Did they find anything, dear reader? No, no they did not. Whatever plutonium I grew up with was not located by a large team of people doing their professional best to do so. Which means, hopefully, that it was returned to whence it came in a responsible fashion.

It's been an interesting week. On the one hand? It's interesting to me that you can pray to the Internet to solve your problem and it does. On the other hand, why did it take over a year?

A phone tap is far more likely. My father did not change the number of the landline when he moved into his parents' house, and his mother was an phone operator for Los Alamos National Labs. She was instrumental in getting the Q clearances approved for several dozen people just in the few years I was hanging out with her all day. If I were the FBI? I would have had that phone tapped since Bay of Pigs or before. And I did ask him "hey whatever happened to that plutonium" over thanksgiving ("it's gone" is all he'd tell me).

So... the system at work, as far as I'm concerned. I'd probably tell my dad "internet tip" instead of "your phone has been monitored since you were in high school." I understand he blames me, but he didn't even mention an FBI raid to his kids except in passing (still didn't have much to say about the "tusks" incident either). Either way, I'm no longer worried about how I'm going to successfully flip Karen Silkwood's house, which is a massive win as far as I'm concerned. So if you're reading this, thanks, FBI.

Did bring up a forgotten memory, though. For my last two years of college not a week went by that some recruiter from somewhere didn't call me up, excited about me going into nuclear engineering, excited about me joining the navy, and excited about me becoming the nuclear officer on some ballistic missile sub somewhere. I routinely told them to pound sand, told them to stop calling me, and wondered why they were cold-calling some myopic pony-tailed surly goth kid for an incredibly specific job. I brought it up as an aside to some buddies, assuming they were getting equally weird calls.

They weren't.

Makes me wonder what the hell my FBI file looked like at the time. There aren't that many positions open for nuclear officers - 72 nuclear boats, fourteen officers total per sub, and most of them have nothing to do with reactors.

Roads not taken.

demure  ·  804 days ago  ·  link  ·  

lol, no way. Recruiters are persistent dudes, I'll tell you that. But they use email now.

    I am emailing you because you are a competitive candidate for the United States Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Officer Program.

I'm glad there was no plutonium.

kleinbl00  ·  804 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I mean they used email then - I got the damn emails well into my fourth year of employment. But you don't have to argue with email.

uhsguy  ·  805 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Lol you ever pull your fbi file? You seem like someone that would have one and it might be interesting

kleinbl00  ·  804 days ago  ·  link  ·  

been thinking about it lately.

It was confirmed for me that I had one after a buddy and I were approached by cops for photographing an oil refinery in Long Beach in December 2001. Stupidest fucking thing ever - we were both wandering around LA (his idea) dragging around medium format cameras and tripods (his idea) and I had like five rolls of really dope-ass stuff and then this chucklefuck decides we need to head down to Long Beach to attempt to take photos of oil refineries from across the parking lot. It was an utter and total bust - you need wider angle than we had, you need further distance than we got. I didn't snap the shutter once.

But the goddamn pinkertons roll up on us after about five minutes and tell us we can't shoot from public property. So we say okay, who do we talk to about getting a release and they say they don't know. So we say okay well we'll be going and they say okay we need you to surrender your film.

I say nah.

They're fucking private security on public property - they can't do shit. They know they can't do shit. So they say "okay?" and I say "no." So they say "okay?" and I say "no." and my buddy, who is an asshole who constantly caused me grief until I cut his ass out of my life two and a half years ago, starts getting real nervous. But the Pinkertons let us go because what the fuck else can they do and they know it.

So we drive half a mile and find out - FOURTEEN of Long Beach's Finest pull us over because the Pinkertons described us as a "credible terrorist threat."

To the LBPD's credit, they were friendly, and I think they were ragged edge of arresting the Pinkertons. At once point one of 'em said "you know this would all be a whole lot easier if you gave us your film FOR NOW we'll give you a receipt and you can reclaim-" at which point my buddy popped open the back of the camera and spooled out live film while also damn near shitting himself. But he was also so freaked out (and so mad at me for not surrendering my film - once he made such a display the cops never even asked me again) that he called his buddy with the FBI brother at 2 in the morning and by 6am we knew a report had been filed.