It certainly must be frightening to be followed and stalked, particularly if you are an investigative reporter focused on security issues. I should think it would produce paralyzing anxiety for one’s safety and certainly the safety of one’s family. Nothing funny about it.
Still, as sympathetic as I am to this writer’s story, it’s hard not to be a little amused at the idea of a private investigator who thinks that driving a black BMW while wearing a furry Fonzie jacket and pompadourish hairstyle is the best way to lay low, while following a subject.
Sitting in my car with the engine on, watching this mystery man in the black car, it crossed my mind that I was being paranoid. I called my editor and we went back and forth over who might be tailing me. I’m a national security reporter, and the Justice Department has been cracking down on whistle-blowers. The Obama administration is even threatening James Risen to testify against a source, or face jail time.
But I’m no James Risen. There are few people who would find it worth their while to follow me around town.
Then there was the question of the car. As I explained to my editor, there’s no way a federal agent would drive a BMW on a stakeout. It’s too easy to spot.Could it be revenge for an old story? Or was it a story that I was doing research on? Either way, I couldn’t understand what purpose following me would serve. Were they looking for my sources? Or just something embarrassing about my personal life?
My editor told me to sit tight, but if I saw the car again, he advised me to approach the man inside and ask him who he was.
The writer is ultimately fair to the PI, but the story gets creepier — read the whole thing.
Just a little something to get your engine started, amid stories of snow-dusted-paralyzed cities and what appears to be a case of mayoral spite. Or you know, just the biggest, fattest coincidence in accidental-mismanagement ever.