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Heymatt:

If my best friend or uncle entered the federal Witness Protection Program, would I even know it? I mean, would he and his family just disappear? What explanations are given, if any, to friends and family members when someone has to change their identity?

-- Baffled in Clairemont

The law says no one connected with anything or anyone even remotely related to the WITSEC (Witness Security) program can say a word to anyone or anything about anyone or anything involved in the WITSEC program. That's the law, anyway. But you gotta know that with, say, 7000 witnesses and their 20,000 protected spouses and kids, somebody's going to say something to somebody somewhere along the line. But most of these protected witnesses are criminals themselves; so if your crook uncle disappears, you'll probably figure it's witness protection, not aliens. That's enough of theory, here's some reality. Yours truly knows of a protected witness. I don�t actually know him; I just know somebody who knows him. And that somebody told me his friend was a protected witness. The witness's mom spilled the beans to my friend. I think she considered it her son's greatest life accomplishment. So if I know, then you've gotta figure a whole lot of other people know too. But it's not supposed to work that way.

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