How to Get Agents Off Your Back
from No Compromise Issue 5
 

So now that you know what to expect from an interrogation, how do you avoid it?

Well, if you are ever approached by the police, FBI, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) or other agency remember you are under no legal obligation to speak with them. Even if they have a search warrant, subpoena or a warrant for your arrest, you still don't have to talk to them.

What you should do in this situation is tell the investigator to talk to your lawyer. The Department of Justice policy requires agents to stop questioning people who are represented by a lawyer. An added benefit of being represented by a lawyer is that if agents are calling you or visiting you frequently, once you have a lawyer, these calls and visits should stop as they would need to speak with you through your lawyer.

So what do you do if you don't have a lawyer? Get the investigator's name, agency and phone number and tell them you will give them the name and phone number of your lawyer once you have it. This has the same affect as actually having a lawyer.

Now that you know how investigators operate and how to avoid them, educate other people too. Take some time at your next group meeting to educate other members about these issues. Break up into groups of four and do role playing where two people play the role of the police and use all of the above tactics while the other two people play the role of activists pulled in for allegedly shooting out the windows of a local meat store. Let the "police" read the " Investigators' Dirty Tricks" article and then let them go at it. See how much information they can extract from the activists about their friends, associates, involvement with animal rights, etc. Let them feel free to split the activists up (a typical police tactic), yell at them, threaten physical violence, etc. Then after the interrogation, come together as a group to discuss the role plays, the tactics used and how activists should handle investigators questions.

The time to learn about how to stop government harassment is before it starts. It only takes one person who talks to land an activists in jail.

Finally, we must also be sure to educate our friends, roommates, family members and employers about how to deal with government harassment, as investigators will go to them to get information too. The agents see these associates as people who are typically less involved with the cause and more willing to talk. So educate them as well. Take care and stay safe.

For further information read --If an Agent Knocks, Federal Investigators and Your Rights. Published by the Center for Constitutional Rights, 666 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.