If you walk into the Safeway near Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown, you'll see a small display of Halloween decorations: witches hats, haunted houses, jack-o-lanterns — the works. That might not seem so strange if it were October or even late September. But it hasn't even hit Labor Day yet.
Safeway isn't the only retailer getting a jump on the holiday. Across the city, shoppers will find Halloween merchandise in Walgreens, Claire's Accessories, Target and Macy's.
The National Retail Federation doesn't have hard numbers on this trend, but the group does have anecdotal data.
Traditionally, intelligence agencies have relied on top-secret information to track changes in other countries. But wiretaps and secret intercepts didn't help U.S. officials predict the Arab Spring that has brought revolution across the Middle East and North Africa.
In hindsight, officials say there could have found some clues about what was about to happen if they had read open sources more closely. Now they are searching for systematic ways to do that.