FC: Jim Warren on his FBI visit during Phil Zimmermann investigation

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Sun Nov 04 2001 - 12:23:54 PST

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    Previous Politech message:
    I've heard back from another Politech member who had additional knowledge 
    of what the FBI wanted. Apparently FBI agent Esposito said he'd be happy to 
    provide all the necessary legal documents, but he wanted to know who had 
    access to the logs and who should be served.
    Date: Sat, 3 Nov 2001 14:32:19 -0800
    To: declanat_private
    From: Jim Warren <jwarrenat_private>
    Subject: Re: FC: FBI allegedly wants San Francisco IMC's web logs?
    In-Reply-To: <>
    >The below report sounds fishy. If the FBI wanted the web logs from the 
    >Independent Media Center of SF, they wouldn't screw around chatting up 
    >some volunteers over the phone.
    Oh not necessarily!
    When the two federal investigators showed up at my house in the early '90's 
    -- pursuing information about Phil Zimmermann (since I'd published the 
    details of how PGP had first been propagated around the net) -- they began 
    with a civil and cordial chat ... with which I cordially cooperated (AFTER 
    turning my tape recorder and so noting in our conversation <grin>).
    It was only during the conversation that they mentioned that they ALSO had 
    a subpoena, if I preferred to go that route.  (Since the evidence I had -- 
    notes of phone conversations that I took at the time of the uploadings -- 
    was clearly beneficial to Phil, and it was obvious that I'd be a great 
    witness for Phil, they ended up not wanting me anywhere NEAR their lapdog 
    fed grand jury <grin>).
    So ... they HAD a subpoena, but they BEGAN with a civil conversation.
    The same thing happened to me, back in the anti-war '60s, with an FBI agent 
    who was "investigating" us nasty ol' commie pinko peaceniks. He began with 
    a pleasant enough phone call, then an equally pleasant f2f meeting (I 
    insisted on meeting on neutral turf; a local cafe :-) ... and we had a 
    pleasant-enough and VERY-interesting (at least to me :-) 
    conversation.  Only near the end did me mention that he had a subpoena(?) 
    but felt he didn't need it (or maybe it was a search warrant for the 
    radical Midpeninsula Free University of which I was Gen'l Secy at the time; 
    the "facts" have faded over the decades :-).
    My impression is that it's only when they ASSUME that they have belligerent 
    antagonists -- especially potential criminal opponents -- that they go in 
    with guns drawn and warrants blazing (of vice versa :-).
    >They'd serve the guys with physical custody of the server with legal 
    >documents -- after all, this is what the FBI did before
    Also, we have had various instances here in the Bay Area, where the feds 
    have shown more common sense and civility, than we've seem from 'em in some 
    other areas.  (E.g., they didn't even TRY to question Bay Area attendees at 
    the Hacker's Conference, when they were trying to track down some 
    "liberated" Apple source-code.  I think it was Barlow who reported that, 
    when asked if they had talked to any of us locals -- near Apple -- they 
    said no; they thought we would be uncooperative.  Many of were DEEPLY hurt 
    <grin!> that we weren't given the opportunity to confuse any of the 
    investigators. :-)
    However, admittedly, no two cases are the same.  (E.g., the Secret 
    Services' 1990 Sun Devil raids on alleged teen-age crackers of all ages ... 
    almost none of 'em charged with any crime ... who merely had their 
    computers "confiscated" sans any trial or conviction.  Those were more the 
    gang-buster's kind of wild-west raids that one would expect from 
    outa-control feds.)
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