In light of this story. . . .
I thought it would be good to give some common-sense non-legal advise (I can’t give “legal” advise since I’m not a lawyer, but I am providing generalized advise that would be of use to activists) on what should be aware of when dealing with the American Secret Police (aka FBI). — on a sidenote, the folks I know from the Greenbriar Collective that are mentioned in the OU Daily story are good folks. The FBI should quit harrassing citizens doing good work.
If the FBI (or any other police agency) shows at your doorstep, here’s what you should do . . .
1. If they are in uniform or you know they are cops, refuse to open the door without seeing a warrant.
2. If they claim they have a warrant, ask to see it. (and if they have one comply with it, but watch everything they do and take notes if you are able to as to what they do and what they look at)
3. If they ask to speak to you, refuse to do so. You do not have to talk to the cops.
4. If they ask you to open the door, let them in your house, etc. — refuse to do so unless they have a warrant. You have the right to do this, so exercise your right!
5. If you are tempted to talk to them to prove your innocence (a bad idea), remember that lying to a federal agent is a crime. It is far better to refuse to speak to them at all.
Beyond the context of visits by law enforcement, the only other advise I can give is to remember that the FBI (and other law enforcement) may have agents infiltrating any meeting you are a part of. I don’t say this to make you paranoid (because if you do this, the bad guys have already won) but rather to make us all aware. It is important as an activist organization to have a strong philosophy of non-violence (not even to joke about violence), because even comments made in jest may someday be used against you.
Also beware of telephones and emails. It is best to never say anything over those medium that you wouldn’t want the feds to know about. (if you don’t believe me read earlier JMBzine post about the fed’s abuse of “national security letters”)