Last week, identity theft expert John Sileo spoke at the Pentagon.
Because his speaking and travel schedule is so heavy at the moment, he hasn’t taken the time to slow down and blog about it. But John wanted to share what it’s like inside the brain of American military power, so we are publishing this post on his behalf. The following is a series of excerpts from comments he made by phone and from a digital recorder he had running as he toured the facility, met with members of the Department of Defense, and presented an identity theft speech to civilian and military leaders. We’ve altered the verbatim audio where necessary to make it understandable.
You can’t tell it’s the Pentagon from the outside because it’s too large… you only see one side or two at a time. I’m going through Level 1 security now, a small building outside of the Pentagon itself. Having my bags X-Ray’d. A little nervous about my video camera, regular camera and cell phone… no problem, they let me through. Less work than the airport. My sponsor is waiting on the other side of the guest entrance to take me in.
Inside of the Pentagon now, going through Level 2 security. They told me that it wouldn’t take long to get through, as we’ve been providing identity verification (Social Security Number, driver’s license copy, passport) for several weeks now… 3 minutes later and I have my ID badge with photo. It says I don’t need an escort inside of the Pentagon… huh? I can go anywhere I want?
Now I understand why I have freedom to go anywhere. The Pentagon is a maze of white halls with white and gray doors that have card scanners next to them. My card has no scanning capabilities. People seem to be entering the doors one at a time… scan, enter, door shuts, scan, enter, door shuts. Is this how they ensure that each person has the proper access to enter that particular office… they compartmentalize and genericize everything? The building is made up of five sides divided into five rings and three levels above ground (I wonder what’s below ground?). It is an immense building that houses 25,000 D.O.D workers. There is at least one road (that I saw) that goes all the way around the inside of the building to deliver goods, etc. There is an entire shopping mall in here… dry cleaners, haircuts, food, pharmacy… everything you would need to stay late.
I’m in the courtyard at the center of the Pentagon. Nice place to eat lunch. People working on benches… international satellites probably taking pictures of them. Say cheese…
I’m standing in the Chapel on the ground floor of the building and looking out the window that the flight from Dulles flew through on 9/11/2001. The walls are full of memories and sadness… a schematic of the plane’s path through the building and who survived or was away from their desk… names and pictures of those killed… [long silence]
Going to the Pentagon Library building, which is where I am speaking. We have to go outside across a bridge that is exposed to the rest of the world so I have to turn my badge in on one side of the bridge and get it back on the other (I guess so that we don’t have an opportunity to drop them over the side to someone below). Oh God, a poster advertising Identity Theft Expert at the Pentagon… I feel sick… am I really speaking about identity theft prevention at the Pentagon? Haven’t yet thrown up like I did the first time I spoke in front of a thousand people. I should’ve skipped the caffeine this morning.
Headed on stage. They are starting my introduction… for some reason, I’m totally calm… all I can do is share what I know, what it felt like to lose almost everything to identity theft and to do my best to make every audience member an identity theft expert. The only thing it really takes is to care enough – to care about protecting your own information and other people’s information like it’s part of your body. Everything else follows from the care, from the emotion of experiencing it all first hand. It’s been a long road since [my business partner] stole my identity and used it to steal from our clients… and it’s good to be right here, right now. I’m a lucky man.
[Announcer’s Voice] … please help me welcome America’s leading identity theft expert, John Sileo.
Identity Theft Expert John Sileo is America’s top identity theft speaker. His clients include the Department of Defense, FDIC, Federal Reserve Bank, Pfizer and organizations around the world. To have him share his story and protect your audience, contact John directly on 800.258.8076.