For Rioters, If You're Visited by the FBI -- Legal Advice on the GoFundMe Page for PDX Protest Bail Fund

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File

 

That’s a headline I never thought I’d write.

The fact that I have written it, however, and the content of the advice on the GoFundMe page is another indication that the dynamic of the Portland riots is under pressure, and might implode in on itself in the days/weeks ahead.

Here is how the entry starts:

We have confirmed reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation visiting people’s homes in the last week or so. The result of some of these visits is that people with state charges, whether they have been no-complained or not, are being arrested by the FBI for federal charges of a similar nature.

Shocking!!  Do you think they are walking up and knocking on doors at random?  Or maybe the person at that address did something to BRING the FBI to their doorstep.

DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. Just don’t talk. It is the safest approach for yourself, your friends, your comrades and the community.
*Don’t answer the door. Unless they have a warrant, you do not have to open the door.
*If you open the door by accident, say “I am busy right now and can’t talk” and close the door or “I am not going to answer any questions without my lawyer present” and close the door.
*You can ask for a card from the agent, but, again, be careful because they are going to try to engage you in conversation in any way.

Why the paranoia?  Maybe they have come to the door because the name of the person living there turned up on a “Job Search” website, and they want that person to consider the FBI as a career.

Maybe the person has been the victim of an internet fraud scheme, and the FBI just wants to make sure the person doesn’t send any additional money to a Nigerian Prince.

Maybe it’s not the FBI — maybe it’s Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes posing as the FBI so the person inside will be really excited when they pull out the Big Check for the $1 Million Grand Prize.

Just open door — they won’t bite.  They just want to talk.

DO NOT LIE TO THE FBI. It is a crime with a potential for 5 to 7 years in federal prison. Saying “I don’t know” can count as a lie if they have evidence you might actually know something. The FBI uses the tactic of getting people to lie as a way to pressure them to turn on their comrades and talk.
*If federal agents come to your door with a legitimate arrest warrant, you may want to step outside your door as quickly as possible and lock your house behind you. If the cops come inside to get you, they can (and will) search the house.
*If law enforcement has a search warrant, read the warrant and take a photograph before letting them in (they can put it under the door or put it against the window) and look at what it is they can actually take.
*After you have been visited and the agents have left, let your comrades know and call the GDC and NLG to let us know what happened.

Got that — comrade?  Whatever you do, do not name names.

 

Humor aside, this is an interesting development.  The feds are not playing “whack a rioter” every night in the street.  Each night is another step in building a larger case against organizers of these riots.  These consensual interviews are meant to identify participants and gather whatever information they can gather on other participants.  I’m 100% confident there is a significant database already in existence that is documenting the identities and photographs of dozens or hundreds of individuals.  In addition to the agent resources devoted to dismantling the “command and control” network of the Portland groups, the Portland FBI office is certainly dedicating a substantial amount of analyst work.  All day long, while rioters are resting up and getting ready for the nighttime festivities, numerous FBI analysts are going over audio, video, cell phone traffic, and any other communications they can monitor to track the individuals who are planning and providing the logistical resources being used to sustain these protesters.

It is a laborious process of linking participants and documenting their activities.  But when the necessary investment of time and resources are made on the front end, bullet-proof cases against the most significant participants emerge at the end.

The protesters really have no understanding about the resources that have been devoted to breaking them up.