Today, Mayor Potter publically revealed (and condemned) an effort by the FBI to place an informant within the walls of City Hall. A lesser man might have been tempted to let the matter drop lest, in hearing the news, his constituents might suspect that he "had something to hide," a phrase often heard these days. But Mayor Potter is not a man easily cowed into the corner. Thankfully, he's moved to bring Big Brother out of the closet. In an open letter to the people, he spoke out not only against this personal intrustion, but against the whole web of warrantless, lawless government spying so nakedly revealed to us recently.
I've had FBI agents knocking on the doors of friends of mine, and even dragging some of them away in the night. I've had them haunting my own nightmares. Probably, since I am a media activist, I've even had them listening to my telephone conversations and reading my mail. So I am well aware that we are not in Kansas anymore, as the saying goes. Still, somehow it shocks me to learn that they have been so blatantly skulking around in, of all places, City Hall. [ read more ]
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.
One important and legitimate role of the FBI is to investigate public corruption within government entities. For example, recently the FBI arrested a member of Congress for public corruption. But federal officials have told me they know of no public corruption in our city. Federal officials say they are conducting no investigation of the City of Portland.
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. [ read more ]