According to CQ Politics, the FBI combed through customer data collected by SF and Bay Area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006. Why? To see what amount of Middle Eastern food products were purchased, with the hopes that this info would lead authorities to the sweet spot: Iranian terrorists.
"The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area," says CQP. But what about us here in north SF? We feel left out. We're just as good a spot to harbor terrorists as South-SF. Hrumph.
They go on to say that the ethnic foods-cum-terrorist study was conceived by FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon. But the investigation was shot down right-quick by the head of the FBI's criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who reasonably thought that the idea of placing someone on a terrorist list for they food they buy was inane -- "and possibly illegal."
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson wouldn't say whether or not the bureau ran such an investigation. “It sounds pretty sensational to mes" he said. And tasty, too. Heh.