You are hereBlogs / dlindorff's blog / The FBI Loosens Up

The FBI Loosens Up


By dlindorff - Posted on 15 June 2011

By John Grant

Some years ago, I was photographing a constitutional law professor for a magazine article on his book, and while I composed my shots I employed the usual half-minded topical banter to keep things on course. The professor was pretty progressive and knew I was a veteran antiwar activist. I was muttering something about constitutional rights.

In the lens, I noticed him chuckling at something, so I pulled my eye away from the camera and looked at him. He was grinning now.

“John, you know they abrogated the Constitution long ago,” he said, his tone a bit patronizing but also mixed with camaraderie and humor.

“Oh, yeh!” I said. “I forgot about that.” We both laughed, and I went on with the shoot.
I couldn’t help thinking about that conversation as I read the story in The New York Times about the new powers being given to individual FBI agents to snoop on citizens they subjectively deem dangerous.

As a veteran anti-war activist and blogster critical of my government, I took this news somewhat personally, since, according to the Times report, without getting permission or making a report, FBI agents could sneak around the back of my house at night and fish through my garbage cans. They could do this if they thought there might be information in those cans useful to intimidate me to snitch on someone. (For the record, I’m not uncomfortable with an FBI agent going through the rancid chicken parts and feces from our cat’s litter box. I have nothing to hide.)

Apparently, individual FBI agents are also now empowered to meddle with me and other writers on this blog in ways I can only imagine — if they deem that necessary. It has to do with the blogosphere and the First Amendment. According to the Times, the new rules clarify for agents just who is a “legitimate member of the news media” on the internet and who is not. The Times reports that “prominent bloggers would count, but not people who have low-profile blogs.” I presume “count” means that a blog is deemed to have First Amendment rights.

While we writers here at This Can't Be Happening! are quite serious and ambitious, we are not (yet) The Huffington Post. So I imagine the average FBI agent would relegate us to the realm of “low-profile blog” and, thus, to the list of fair game blogs for whatever harassment or intimidation said agent might deem necessary.

For the rest of this article by JOHN GRANT at ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent alternative online newspaper now beginning it’s second year of daily publication, please go to: ThisCantBeHappening!

Speaking Events

2016

War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Book Tour

May 19, Sarasota, FL, 7:00 p.m. Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota, FL

May 20, Jacksonville, FL, 7:00 p.m., Florida Christian Center Auditorium, 1115 Edgewood Ave S, Jacksonville, FL 32205, (904) 381-4800.

May 21, Gainesville, FL
7:00 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville, Florida
4225 NW 34th St, Gainesville, FL 32605
(352) 377-1669
Sign up on FB.


May 28, San Francisco, CA
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg, at San Francisco Main Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
Sign up on FB.

May 28, Marin County, CA
4 to 6 p.m., David Swanson in conversation with Norman Solomon, at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA
Sign up on FB.

May 29, Oakland, CA
3 to 4 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, at Diesel: A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue at Kales (near Manila), Oakland, CA
Sign up on FB.

May 29, Berkeley, CA
7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
Sign up on FB.

May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event
Community United Church of Christ
5550 N. Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93710


June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
Sign up on FB.

June 12 Minneapolis, MN, 9 and 11 a.m. at St. Joan's 4533 3rd Ave So, Minneapolis, MN, plus peace pole dedication at 2 p.m.
Sign up on FB.


Other Events Here.

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

Support This Site

Donate.

Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.

 

Sponsors:

Speaking Truth to Empire

***

Families United

***

Ray McGovern

***

Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.