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Fwd.: Lesen ist verdächtig
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 22:56:04 -0700
To: usawatch _at__ derechos.net
From: Margarita Lacabe <marga _at__ usawatch.org>
Subject: [usawatch] Careful: The FB-eye may be watching
Careful: The FB-eye may be watching - Reading the wrong thing in public
can get you in trouble
BY MARC SCHULTZ
"The FBI is here,"Mom tells me over the phone. Immediately I can see my
with her back to a couple of Matrix-like figures in black suits and
sunglasses, her hand covering the mouthpiece like Grace Kelly in Dial M
Murder. This must be a joke, I think. But it's not, because Mom isn't
"The who?" I say.
"Two FBI agents. They say you're not in trouble, they just want to
They want to come to the store."
I work in a small, independent bookstore, and since it's a slow Tuesday
afternoon, I figure, "Sure." Someone I know must have gotten some
government work, I think; hadn't my consultant friend spoken recently
getting rolled onto some government job? Background check, I think,
interviewing acquaintances ... No big deal, right? Then, of course, I
a big deal about it in front of my co-workers.
"That was my mom," I tell them. "The FBI's coming for me." They laugh;
a good joke, especially when the FBI actually shows up. They are not
bogeymen I had been expecting. They're dressed casually, they speak
familiarly, but they are big. The one in front stands close to 7 feet,
you can tell his partner is built like a bulldog under his baggy shirt
"You Marc Schultz?" asks the tall one. He shows me his badge,
himself as Special Agent Clay Trippi. After assuring me that I'm not in
trouble, he asks if there is someplace we can sit down and talk. We
back to Reference, where a table and chairs are set up. We sit down,
I'm again informed that I am not in trouble.
Then, Agent Trippi asks, "Do you drive a black Nissan Altima?" And I
realize this meeting is not about a friend. Despite their reassurances,
despite the fact that I haven't committed any federal offenses (that I
of), I'm starting to feel a bit like I'm in trouble.
They ask me if I was driving my car on Saturday, and I say, reasonably
sure, that I was. They ask me where I went, and I struggle for a moment
remember Saturday. I make a lame joke about how the days run together
you're underemployed. They smile politely. Was I at work on Saturday? I
"Were you at the Caribou Coffee on Powers Ferry?" asks Agent Trippi.
where I get my coffee before work, and so I tell him yes, probably,
before remembering Saturday: Harry Potter day, opening early, in at
So I would have been at Caribou Coffee that Saturday, getting my small
coffee, room for cream. This information seems to please the agents.
"Did you notice anything unusual, anyone worth commenting on?" OK, I
It's the unusual guy they want, not me. I think hard, wondering if it
Saturday I saw the guy in the really cool reclining wheelchair, the guy
struck me as a potential James Bondian supervillain, but no: That was
Then they ask if I carried anything into the shop -- and we're back to
My mind races. I think: a bomb? A knife? A balloon filled with
But no. I don't own any of those things. "Sunglasses," I say. "Maybe my
Not the right answer. I'm nervous now, wondering how I must look:
mid-20s, unassuming retail employee. What could I have possibly been
Trippi's partner speaks up: "Any reading material? Papers?" I don't
so. Then Trippi decides to level with me: "I'll tell you what, Marc.
Someone in the shop that day saw you reading something, and thought it
looked suspicious enough to call us about. So that's why we're here,
checking it out. Like I said, there's no problem. We'd just like to get
the bottom of this. Now if we can't, then you may have a problem. And
don't want that."
You don't want that? Have I just been threatened by the FBI? Confusion
a light dusting of panic conspire to keep me speechless. Was I reading
something that morning? Something that would constitute a problem?
The partner speaks up again: "Maybe a printout of some kind?"
Then it occurs to me: I was reading. It was an article my dad had
off the Web. I remember carrying it into Caribou with me, reading it in
line, and then while stirring cream into my coffee. I remember bringing
with me to the store, finishing it before we opened. I can't remember
the article was about, but I'm sure it was some kind of left-wing
editorial, the kind that never fails to incite me to anger and despair
the state of the country.
I tell them all this, but they want specifics: the title of the
the author, some kind of synopsis, but I can't help them -- I read so
of this stuff.
"Do you still have the article?" Probably not, but I suggest we check
behind the counter. When that doesn't pan out, I have the bright idea
call my dad at work, see if he can remember. Of course, he can't put
together a coherent sentence after I tell him the FBI are at the store,
"The FBI?" he keeps asking. Eventually I get him off the phone, and
it may be in my car. They follow me out to the parking lot, where
asks me if there's anything in the car he should know about.
"Weapons, drugs? It's not a problem if you do, but if you don't tell me
then I find something, that's going to be a problem." I assure him
nothing in my car, coming very close to quoting Rudy Ray Moore in
"There's nothin' in my trunk, man."
The excitement of the questioning -- the interrogation -- has made me
a little bit giddy. I almost laugh out loud when they ask me to pop my
There's nothing in my car, of course. I keep looking anyway, while
them it was probably some kind of
what-did-they-know-and-when-did-they-know-it article about the buildup
Gulf War II. Trippi nods, unsatisfied. I turn up some papers from the
University of Georgia, where I'm about to begin as a grad student. He
me what I'm going to study.
"Journalism," I say. As I duck back into the car, I hear Agent Trippi
informing his partner, "He's going to UGA for journalism" in a way that
makes me wonder whether that counts against me.
Back in the store, Trippi gives me his card and tells me to call him if
remember anything. After he's gone, I call my dad back to see if he has
calmed down, maybe come up with a name. We retrace some steps together,
figure out the article was Hal Crowther's "Weapons of Mass Stupidity"
the Weekly Planet, a free independent out of Tampa. It comes back to me
then, this scathing screed focusing on the way corporate interests have
poisoned the country's media, focusing mostly on Fox News and Rupert
Murdoch -- really infuriating, deadly accurate stuff about American
journalism post-9-11. So I call the number on the card, leave a message
with the name, author and origin of the column, and ask him to call me
he has any more questions.
To tell the truth, I'm kind of anxious to hear back from the FBI, if
for the chance to ask why anyone would find media criticism suspicious,
if maybe the sight of a dark, bearded man reading in public is itself
enough to strike fear in the heart of a patriotic citizen.
My co-worker, Craig, says that we should probably be thankful the FBI
these things seriously; I say it seems like a dark day when an American
citizen regards reading as a threat, and downright pitch-black when the
federal government agrees.
Special Agent Trippi didn't return calls from CL. But Special Agent Joe
Paris, Atlanta field office spokesman, stressed that specific FBI
investigations are confidential. He wouldn't confirm or deny the
"In this post-911 era, it is the absolute responsibility of the FBI to
follow through on any tips of potential terrorist activity," Paris
"Are people going to take exception and be inconvenienced by this at
Oh, yeah. ... A certain amount of convenience is going to be offset by
increase in security."
Librarian & Cybrarian
Bibliographie Berufsbild BibliothekarIn:
Listeninformationen unter http://www.inetbib.de.