When the FBI Shows Up at Your Door . . .

 

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.

*     *     *     *

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.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Don’t talk to any law enforcement 

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Don’t talk to any law enforcement

    Our sheriff here in Polk County is famous for his looking out for citizens. He put out a video warning crooks that he told his citizens to arm themselves, so they’d better not get any ideas!) So I don’t worry too much about our deputy sheriffs. 

    • #2
  3. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    I wonder if it is allowed to record any interactions with the FBI.  They may not be able to record you, or they don’t because they are <sarcasm>so upstanding</sarcasm> that the courts take their recollections as verbatim, but is there a prohibition on recording them? I’m sure they will tell you that you cannot even if you are because they are allowed and expected to lie to do their jobs (which makes one wonder why they are assumed to tell the truth about what you said in an interview when they can lie to you during said interview).

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The FBI has actually managed to become more loathsome than the IRS in less than ten years.

    If you are in the FBI and this offends you, take your mind off of it by checking the local PTA for dangerous subversives.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    I wonder if it is allowed to record any interactions with the FBI. They may not be able to record you, or they don’t because they are <sarcasm>so upstanding</sarcasm> that the courts take their recollections as verbatim, but is there a prohibition on recording them? I’m sure they will tell you that you cannot even if you are because they are allowed and expected to lie to do their jobs (which makes one wonder why they are assumed to tell the truth about what you said in an interview when they can lie to you during said interview).

    I have no idea, David! If you have your lawyer with you, however, I expect that person would know. At this time, we don’t actually have a lawyer. I wonder if that’s something we need to look into?

    • #5
  6. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    I just won’t answer the door and would call the sheriff’s office.  Let them be a witness so the FBI couldn’t lie about their behavior. Set off you burglar alarm so the neighbors could witness their behavior.

    I don’t trust them. I trust my sheriff.

    Susan, stay safe in this weather.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    I just won’t answer the door and would call the sheriff’s office. Let them be a witness so the FBI couldn’t lie about their behavior. Set off you burglar alarm so the neighbors could witness their behavior.

    I don’t trust them. I trust my sheriff.

    Susan, stay safe in this weather.

    Thanks, Red. I may do a post depending on how the storm tracks. At the moment, it doesn’t look good. Are you in FL?

    • #7
  8. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Years ago my wife was interviewed by an agent because one of her acquaintances had applied for a job at NSA and listed my wife as a reference.

    Today I’d refuse to participate in such an interview.

    • #8
  9. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I am astonished how often in TV shows about cops and the FBI the arrestee is told that this is his last chance to get favorable treatment by confessing and telling everything he knows–and he believes it !!?–when actually the scriptwriter does not have the wit (or time left in the episode) to get that information to the audience through other investigative means.  You would think that even fictional criminals have seen enough TV to know what a sucker’s deal that is.  

    If you are not going to be completely silent, perhaps just keep saying that Christopher Wray fornicates with farm animals to get that into the arrest report and into the database forever.  (If you are on trial in DC, you are gonna be convicted anyway so have some fun before sentencing.)  At trial, demand it be read into the record. Cross-examine the arresting officer and make him repeat it. Then again, claiming you did not hear. Then ask the court stenographer to read it back…  

    Then urge others to do a FOIA demand for any and all documents related to the FBI director having sex with farm animals. If they don’t produce it promptly, prove that such records must exist on the basis of your arrest record alone and ask why they covered it up?  Is it the tip of the iceberg?  Have friends dress as farmers and farm animals and picket his house…  Let a thousand memes bloom…

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Then urge others to do a FOIA demand for any and all documents related to the FBI director having sex with farm animals. If they don’t produce it promptly, prove that such records must exist on the basis of your arrest record alone and ask why they covered it up?  Is it the tip of the iceberg?  Have friends dress as farmers and farm animals and picket his house…  Let a thousand memes bloom…

    If they come to my house, will you represent me??

    • #10
  11. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    I just won’t answer the door and would call the sheriff’s office. Let them be a witness so the FBI couldn’t lie about their behavior. Set off you burglar alarm so the neighbors could witness their behavior.

    I don’t trust them. I trust my sheriff.

    Susan, stay safe in this weather.

    Thanks, Red. I may do a post depending on how the storm tracks. At the moment, it doesn’t look good. Are you in FL?

    No. At home but will get it, too, it seems. 

    • #11
  12. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Years ago my wife was interviewed by an agent because one of her acquaintances had applied for a job at NSA and listed my wife as a reference.

    Today I’d refuse to participate in such an interview.

    They ran those interviews every time my clearance needed to be renewed. I was the one person they didn’t talk to. Was from a small town. Folks kept thinking I was in trouble. 

    Talked to them many times when they were doing renewals for clearances of people I knew or had supervised. I had  often thought of requesting my file but decided there was nothing much in it and I already knew all about me. 

    • #12
  13. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Then urge others to do a FOIA demand for any and all documents related to the FBI director having sex with farm animals. If they don’t produce it promptly, prove that such records must exist on the basis of your arrest record alone and ask why they covered it up? Is it the tip of the iceberg? Have friends dress as farmers and farm animals and picket his house… Let a thousand memes bloom…

    If they come to my house, will you represent me??

    Susan who?  Never heard of her, special agent, sir. And may I say that I think you guys are doing a wonderful job.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Susan who?  Never heard of her, special agent, sir. And may I say that I think you guys are doing a wonderful job.

    Thanks for giving me my giggle of the day, OB. Of course, you’re kidding, right? ;-)

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Here is an update from yesterday on the latest whistleblower news:

    https://nworeport.me/2022/09/26/update-fbi-whistleblower-accuses-bureau-of-violating-constitutional-rights-of-americans-raiding-their-homes-on-misdemeanor-charge/

     

    • #15
  16. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    Susan Quinn: I’m not trying to make anyone paranoid.

    Too Late!  I have to admit the FBI of the old days (including my late Father in Law) is long gone – along with my trust.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Years ago my wife was interviewed by an agent because one of her acquaintances had applied for a job at NSA and listed my wife as a reference.

    Today I’d refuse to participate in such an interview.

    They ran those interviews every time my clearance needed to be renewed. I was the one person they didn’t talk to. Was from a small town. Folks kept thinking I was in trouble.

    Talked to them many times when they were doing renewals for clearances of people I knew or had supervised. I had often thought of requesting my file but decided there was nothing much in it and I already knew all about me.

    But you might not know everything they thought they knew about you.

    • #17
  18. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Years ago my wife was interviewed by an agent because one of her acquaintances had applied for a job at NSA and listed my wife as a reference.

    Today I’d refuse to participate in such an interview.

    They ran those interviews every time my clearance needed to be renewed. I was the one person they didn’t talk to. Was from a small town. Folks kept thinking I was in trouble.

    Talked to them many times when they were doing renewals for clearances of people I knew or had supervised. I had often thought of requesting my file but decided there was nothing much in it and I already knew all about me.

    But you might not know everything they thought they knew about you.

    Wasn’t anything that kept me from being cleared for TS..

    • #18
  19. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    It’s obvious that the FBI is out of control, given recent events.  The reason that the individual citizen has little to fear from them is numbers.  Compared to the general U.S. population, the number of federal law enforcement agents (not just FBI) is quite small.

    Truth be told, in most localities of the United States, the ratio of law enforcement to citizens is smaller than average compared to other Western democracies.  New York City might be one exception.

    So if you garner the attention of the feds for something minor, you may still be protected by their high case load.

    But there’s no doubt that they have a lot of power, and if they choose to abuse it with someone they don’t like, especially if that person is middle class with a lot to lose but few resources to defend themselves legally, that someone is in big trouble.  Horror stories abound of someone in the middle class having to take out a second mortgage to hire competent legal counsel.

    The feds have de-facto oversight power over local law enforcement and the result is there are limitations built in in how they can abuse their citizens.  But the feds don’t have a similar outside entity looking over their shoulders.

    A street cop can end up in jail for abuse of power a lot easier than a federal agent.

    But the group that has the most immunity abuse of power is the lawyers, specifically prosecutors.  And with all the recent attention on the FBI, federal and state prosecutors deserve similar attention.

    • #19
  20. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    I would tell the FBI that I am related to Joe Biden  – then they will ignore anything that I did wrong

    • #20
  21. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    But there’s no doubt that they have a lot of power, and if they choose to abuse it with someone they don’t like, especially if that person is middle class with a lot to lose but few resources to defend themselves legally, that someone is in big trouble.  Horror stories abound of someone in the middle class having to take out a second mortgage to hire competent legal counsel.

    This will be used more and more. Their best weapon. They destroy the other side or push good people until they snap and do something rash and look like the dangerous ones. That is what happened on January 6. The easy marks snapped, the ones who were really paying attention on who felt hopeless. The violence suits the other side, giving them an excuse to crack down. What is the middle path between pushing back and getting destroyed and someone who lays low out of fear and hopes to stay under the radar in hopes the man never notices him as his totalitarian instincts grow.  it will be interesting to watch the next five years.

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    And for a little dark humor on our topic, you might have missed this piece . . .

     

    • #22
  23. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    And for a little dark humor on our topic, you might have missed this piece . . .

     

    Good one.

    • #23
  24. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    It’s obvious that the FBI is out of control, given recent events. The reason that the individual citizen has little to fear from them is numbers. Compared to the general U.S. population, the number of federal law enforcement agents (not just FBI) is quite small.

    Truth be told, in most localities of the United States, the ratio of law enforcement to citizens is smaller than average compared to other Western democracies. New York City might be one exception.

    So if you garner the attention of the feds for something minor, you may still be protected by their high case load.

    But there’s no doubt that they have a lot of power, and if they choose to abuse it with someone they don’t like, especially if that person is middle class with a lot to lose but few resources to defend themselves legally, that someone is in big trouble. Horror stories abound of someone in the middle class having to take out a second mortgage to hire competent legal counsel.

    As Mark Steyn says, “the process is the punishment.”

     

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    It’s obvious that the FBI is out of control, given recent events. The reason that the individual citizen has little to fear from them is numbers. Compared to the general U.S. population, the number of federal law enforcement agents (not just FBI) is quite small.

    Truth be told, in most localities of the United States, the ratio of law enforcement to citizens is smaller than average compared to other Western democracies. New York City might be one exception.

    So if you garner the attention of the feds for something minor, you may still be protected by their high case load.

    But there’s no doubt that they have a lot of power, and if they choose to abuse it with someone they don’t like, especially if that person is middle class with a lot to lose but few resources to defend themselves legally, that someone is in big trouble. Horror stories abound of someone in the middle class having to take out a second mortgage to hire competent legal counsel.

    As Mark Steyn says, “the process is the punishment.”

     

    Indeed!

    • #25
  26. Luvdfromabuv Coolidge
    Luvdfromabuv
    @LuvdFromabuv

    If you put hundreds of classified documents including probably nuclear secrets in your basement for a year and a half you can expect the FBI to come knocking on your door. 

        Except in your case they won’t wait a year and a half because you are a former president. You will be arrested that day.   

          If you are not breaking the law then it’s unlikely they will come knock on your door.  

    • #26
  27. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Luvdfromabuv (View Comment):

    If you put hundreds of classified documents including probably nuclear secrets in your basement for a year and a half you can expect the FBI to come knocking on your door.

    Except in your case they won’t wait a year and a half because you are a former president. You will be arrested that day.

    If you are not breaking the law then it’s unlikely they will come knock on your door.

    Unless you’re a former “First Lady” and presidential candidate – or more generally, unless you’re a Democrat – in which case nothing happens, ever.

    • #27
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