What's the best/fastest way to garner the attention of the FBI? (without directly asking for it*)

In another thread about online banking, I made an offhand joke about counterfeiting currency bringing about unwanted attention from the FBI (honestly I’m not even sure if they do counterfeiting or that’s someone else’s department). But it got me wondering, in all seriousness, what kinds of actions would most quickly and efficiently lead to bringing a visitor from the Bureau to your doorstep?

*** The (important) caveat is** you can’t openly brag about any illegal or seditious activities. So no contacting them directly, or contacting any form of law enforcement, or even bragging to buddies about your activities just for the sake of bragging. We have to assume that the hypothetical ne’er do well in this situation does not actively want to be caught, though we can otherwise assume that he or she is not particularly cautious or smart. But the FBI would basically have to find/catch the person on their own without getting willingly tipped off.

Buy way too much fertilizer with a high ammonium nitrate content, esp if you don’t own a farm. After you buy a few tons the FBI will probably come looking for you.

Don’t know, as my scoutmaster in 1968 was SAIC-Chicago and I asked for it by having a copy of The Communist Manifesto tantalizingly sticking out of my back pocket to annoy him. I flatter myself to think I’m permanently in their files.

Start calling Yemen, a lot.

The question sounds vaguely like some law enforcement fan boy wank fantasy.

IRL the answer is that you’re not really going to get the attention of the busy FBI unless you are actively doing something they deem to be of interest to them (ie threatening and illegal) or you are somehow associated with someone who is going the illegal thing, or they think the person doing the dangerous and illegal thing might be using your services for something.

How you arrange those tangential relationships is up to you. Being a gun store owner, and the head of a local White Power militia, and the admin of a website that supports over throwing the state might get their attention, but that’s sort of playing with the fine line of not “asking for it”.

You folks are making it much more difficult than it has to be. Just apply for some kind of federal job, or otherwise submit paperwork that requires federal verification, using fraudulent documents.

When I was in high school I applied for a passport with spoofed ID and they quickly showed up.

The FBI wouldn’t care that much.


Counterfeiting currency is under the jurisdiction of the Secret Service.

Yeah, but it’s a rush to think they would.

Try walking into the headquarters with a concealed handgun.

You may laugh but I know somebody who did this at NYPD headquarters.

It used to be if you came over from Saudi Arabia to learn to fly airliners and acted suspicious, that did not make them curious…

Park a U-Hual outside their office and walk the other way.

Browse the NSA website.

Order a couple of copies of the Anarchist’s Cookbook online.

You could do what a few of my fellow toxicology masters degree students did when they were over in the US for a project.

    • Not be sufficently cautious with radio-isotopes
    • Set off radiation detector at airport

Oh, and this was pretty much as soon as flights opened again after 9/11 :eek: (it happened while they were there), and a couple of them were rather dark skinned.

They apparently had a long sit down chat with a wide selection of scary looking people.

Probably, that type of incident is usually routine, given the sensitivity of those detectors, and it’ll have been pretty easy to confirm their story, but their timing wasn’t great.

My sister, a professional newspaper reporter, got visited by the FBI after requesting information about her city’s terrorism emergency response plan.

I think having dark skin and an Arabic-sounding name are a great first step. Then just show up at a U.S. mosque and start loudly asking if anyone knows anything about homemade explosives. My cynical side thinks you’ll get contacted* even sooner if you seem so dumb that you could never actually pull anything off, but could easily be manipulated into taking part in something long enough for the FBI to make a flashy case. I assume it still counts for the OP if someone reports you as being suspicious, as long as you didn’t directly tell them what you were up to, right?

  • by someone who doesn’t tell you they’re an FBI agent. At least not until the arrest. Does that still count for the OP?

Whatever happened to good old fashioned bank robbery? You don’t even need a gun.

Nah, I’ve been to the NSA’s site several times and even requested information from them. No field agents ever came by or even phoned.

One thing that did get them to call me directly was a local agent needed some assistance with counterfeiting or something along those lines, and they had my name as someone who worked in bank security.

HUH? Do you mean a fake birth certificate? The only thing required and that they verify when applying for a USA passport is your birth certificate, you need nothing else and if you have no ID you can have a USA citizen vouch for you.

They did it for me with my valid BC and generic ID, but I was very young. If you’re older they might be more suspicious.

It was the birth certificate of a person who’d died in infancy, with which I’d already gotten a state ID and Social Security number. So it was a real birth certificate–it just wasn’t mine.