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Why would the FBI come to your house?
There are a number of possible reasons. They range from the possibility that they are looking for someone who does not live there anymore, to looking for information about another person, to looking to interview a target or even make an arrest. Perhaps you were at home, and the FBI agent has told you some things about your connection to the investigation and you are wondering if you can take the agent’s statements at face value. Or, perhaps you have already agreed to speak with federal agents, and you are wondering if you have made a grievous error.
These are alarming times. We continue to hear stories of the FBI confronting citizens who have not committed crimes to all appearances, but who have offended the powers-that-be in the political realm. These are folks who are stopping at a fast-food drive-thru, or who are on vacation with their families, or who are confronted at their homes by multiple FBI agents with guns drawn. The FBI’s goals are clearly to intimidate those they’ve accosted, but the interactions can be frightening and bewildering. In other words, they’ve accomplished their mission.
The days of respecting the FBI have been over for quite a long time. In all likelihood, the organization never fully recovered from the times of J. Edgar Hoover. And today, anyone—anyone—could be an FBI target. So, I decided it would be common sense to prepare for an exchange with the FBI.
You might think that you could never be an FBI target. Let me suggest, however, that if you write on Twitter, Facebook, or on other social media sites, you could be in the sights of the FBI. If you post photos that could be considered “controversial” or at odds with the Biden government, you could be seen as an adversary.
Even writing on Ricochet could make you vulnerable.
So let me share some suggestions, which are not in any way intended to be legal advice, if the FBI shows up at your door.
The foremost advice that I found was never speak to government agents without an attorney present. Although this advice was given by a law firm, I think their advice is wise:
It is almost never to your advantage to speak to government agents without an attorney. While we would not rule out the possibility that there might be situations–perhaps one out of a thousand–where you are losing some advantage by not talking to agents then and there, you are not in a position to objectively make that decision.
Federal agents may also try to convince you that it is safe to speak with them:
Federal agents receive extensive training on how to convince people to talk without their lawyers and they can be very intimidating and/or persuasive. We have represented many clients who came away from interviews thinking they had been promised a particular outcome and were later displeased to learn this was not the case.
The bottom line is that the agents’ only goal is to secure the evidence they need for their investigation. They are not there to protect your rights and interests.
And you could be in serious trouble if you have lied to agents:
Let’s say you have already spoken to federal agents and did not tell the whole truth. Maybe you left some things out or fudged a few details. Or, maybe you spun a tale that was (in technical legal jargon) ‘total BS.’
The bad news is that you have probably broken the law by doing so. To be sure, you are not required to speak to law enforcement. But, if you do so, you must tell the truth. Lying to federal agents could result in false statements. Many a famous case involved a defendant who was never proven guilty of an underlying criminal offense but nonetheless went down for lying to investigators or to the grand jury (Alger Hiss, Barry Bonds, Michael Flynn, Martha Stewart, etc.).
And last, you won’t be able to change your statement:
FBI agents typically do not record their conversations with targets or witnesses because early in the 1950s it was established that FBI agents go through a rigid selection and security clearance process. In return, they are presumed to be credible when it comes to ‘their’ story versus ‘your’ recollection of the conversation. Further, agents typically show up in a team of two, with one agent playing ‘good’ cop and one agent being more of an observer who takes g notes. So, you are also outnumbered. In addition, investigating agents are required to contemporaneously write a memorandum about each interview they conduct to capture all details of a conversation.
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I’m not trying to make anyone paranoid. And I certainly don’t want anyone to stop writing; sharing your ideas provides a valuable benefit for our citizens. As they say, however, desperate times call for desperate measures. And common sense goes a long way to helping us be prepared in an unpredictable and violent world.
Just be safe. And smart.Published in