Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Potter: FBI Tried to Infiltrate City Hall--w/ FBI Response

This just came over the wires. A little cloak and dagger with your latte'?
On Thursday, May 11, 2006, a Special Agent of the Portland Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation stopped a City employee and showed her a badge and ID. He asked if she knew any City Council members. He asked if she would be willing to pass information to him relating to people who work for the City of Portland . He said that while he had duties in other areas, the agency was always interested in information relating to white collar crime and other things.


The only conclusion I can draw is that the agent in question was trying to place an informant inside the offices of Portland ’s elected officials and employees, in order to inform on City Council and others.

The actions of the FBI – even if they are the actions of one agent acting on his own - come at an uneasy time for many Americans. In the past few weeks, we have learned that our phone records are not private, and conversations are monitored without warrants. Journalists exposing these actions have been threatened with prosecution.

Even if this incident is nothing more than the work of one overzealous agent, it represents an unacceptable mindset within the agency. When there is no information to indicate ANY public corruption on the part of City Council members or employees, the FBI has no legitimate role in surreptitiously monitoring elected officials and city employees.
When will the FBI learn? Don't. Fuck. With. Portland.

Update, 1130AM--
From KATU, the FBI has released their response, which reads essentially as "Simmer down, Tom. Trust us!" The most interesting line may be "Many of our investigations start with a tip from someone who encounters corruption in the course of their work," since that's obviously not how THIS 'investigation' started; this one started with an agent trying to find someone to monitor City Hall and snitch if they saw anything. That's the difference the response is trying to mask: if, as the FBI claims, there is no suspicion of wrongdoing in Portland goverment, what are they doing snooping around? The last letter is 'I' for a reason; it's not E for Eavesdropping, or M for Monitoring.

Tom Potter is right--this is tantamount to suspicionless search, a practice the Bush administration thinks it has the right to pursue, statutes and founders be damned.