Question about the Witness Protection Program

Over in IMHO, I made a joke about the witness protection program, and it got me thinking.

If you’re in the program, you have to break all ties to your previous life, right? And that includes cutting off all communication with your friends and family, so as not to put them in danger. I personally could cut off all contact with my brother forever and not feel a twinge – but if I couldn’t talk to my sister, I’d at least want the headlines of how – and what – she’s doing

Is there a mechanism in place for you to get reports on how they’re doing?

While I don’t have any first hand knowledge of such things… I can imagine that the family could post a BLOG of some sort that you could read.

While it might not be wise to contact your relatives I don’t think anyone would stop you if you tried. IOW, I think you could set up some secret meeting out in the middle of nowhere and wouldn’t be putting anyone in danger. It’s not like all of your relatives are being monitored by the bad guys 24X7.

I read somewhere (no cite, sorry) that relatives can write letters to the Program office and they will forward the letters to your secret location. You can write back in the same manner.

Hm, yeah, a blog would be a good idea. :smack: (Us old folks aren’t always hip to the new technology.)

I wonder what proportion of Live Journalists are in the witness protection program?

This isn’t exactly wrt to the Witness Protection Program but is interesting/related all the same:

Awhile back, I read a book written by a fellow who worked for, I believe, the IRS for many years, tracking down tax evaders who had fled to foreign countries. Now he was retired, and this book was giving advice on “how to disappear” if you should so desire, for whatever reason, legal or illegal, wink wink nudge nudge. (Maybe someone knows what I’m talking about and can provide a title/author?) The author seemed a bit of a charlatan to me, but he had some advice that was common-sense and useful, which is: if you’re really intent on taking up a new life and there’s secrecy involved, do not keep any vestiges of your old one, no matter how careful you think you’re being. Because if someone wants to find you badly enough, they will. Don’t telephone your relatives, don’t arrange a hotel visit with them over the border, don’t write them letters, don’t wear a clever disguise and visit your hometown, don’t take up a name that’s a clever anagram of your old one or with the same initials, don’t keep your old email acccount, don’t frequent your favorite websites, don’t confess that you’re on the lam even to a harmless stranger you’ll probably never see again. He gave an anecdote about a fellow he was pursuing who had some really arcane hobby–I think it was related to a particular obscure type of gun? He subscribed to a hobbyists’ magazine that had a circulation of only a few hundred subscribers, and kept up the subscription when he was fleeing from the law. So when the IRS agent went off in pursuit of him, it was child’s play to find him.

Maybe the Witness Protection Program does have some sort of safe mechanism for contacting relatives, but otherwise, it’s probably not the greatest idea in the world.