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Commentary :: Human Rights
Note to Federal Agents
01 Aug 2004
Explaining oneself in light of the USA Patriot Act
Note to Federal Agents

By Holly Hand


Because I reported on a protest rally at the recent Democratic National Convention and also attended a couple other demonstrations, I realize I could now be under the scrutiny of federal agents. And because of the USA Patriot Act, these federal agents could enter and search my home at any time. So, I’ve posted this notice on the wall in my front hallway:


Dear Federal Agents:

The following information will hopefully save you some time if you break in when I’m not here, to snoop through my possessions. I understand that because of the USA Patriot Act, federal agents now have the right to search my home and belongings without a search warrant and without notifying me before or after. This includes you agents searching my books, my computer, and even my underwear, and taking whatever you want, even if I’m not suspected of having done anything wrong.

As a patriotic American, I certainly support this law (especially because Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose and so could conceivably be hiding in my home, along with some weapons of mass destruction). Therefore I’ve decided I’d better tell you agents right upfront about what you may find incriminating in my home and my defense for it. Otherwise I might have (as Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy) “some ‘splainin’ to do.”

First, when you break into my home, you’ll be greeted by my poodle. Because President Bush has been in a snit about France not supporting the US invasion of Iraq, I apologize for having a French dog. However, in my dog’s defense, he does not have a French name nor does he understand a word of French. If you look at his AKC pedigree certificate (top shelf of bookcase in the living room), you’ll see that he and his parents, grandparents, and seven out of eight great-grandparents were born and raised in the USA. The only exception is one great-grandfather that came from Columbia. Now I know it might raise suspicions that a relative of my dog may have been smuggling Columbian cocaine into the US. However, neither my dog nor I have any knowledge of this. I can also verify that I’ve never heard my dog say anything negative about America. So please do not take my dog into custody. Thank you.

Now for my books (bookcases in living room) — I expect you’ll be pleased to know that I own several translations of the Bible. I do not own a copy of the Koran or any other Muslim books. And since the US is closely allied to the British (they are of course, the other half of our military “Coalition” against Iraq), I hope you’ll notice that I have some books by British writers such as Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh and C.S. Lewis.

I do admit to having the anti-Ronald Reagan book Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson, but I promise I totally disagree with Hunter’s politics, sense of humor and drug/alcohol use. I just keep Generation of Swine around as an example of gonzo journalism. I also have Downsize This by Michael Moore, but I just have it to try to help me understand the ridiculous class-hatred of unemployed blue-collar workers who don’t have enough guts or patriotism to make a career in the military. You may be pleased to discover that I have The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, both autographed by Ayn Rand. (I haven’t found any capitalists as brilliant and noble as the ones in Ayn Rand’s books, but I’m still looking!) I also have Own Your Own Corporation and Loopholes of the Rich — two books our president might have read himself!

You’ll undoubtedly be looking for my passport (top drawer of my bedroom bureau) and so will be happy to learn from it that since 9/11 I’ve made several visits to our great ally, England, and no visits to any countries harboring our enemies. I have no foreign money in the house except for a few British pounds (money belt in right-hand drawer under kitchen counter).

If you look at my laptop computer (on desk in dining room) you’ll see it’s a Dell, purchased from Dell corporate headquarters in President Bush’s great home state of Texas. And please note that I use the patriotically named America Online service.

As for my personal items, if you look at my bathroom shelves you’ll see that I continually infuse money into the president’s home state by purchasing Mary Kay cosmetics (corporate headquarters: Dallas). And when you search my underwear (bedroom bureau drawers two through four), you’ll discover that I patronize Victoria’s Secret, a British company.

Well, I guess that about covers it. I know you federal agents hope to find some dirty laundry to make your break-in worthwhile. If I have any dirty laundry, it’ll be in a pillowcase on the floor of the bedroom closet. And if you have time to do my laundry for me (washer and dryer in the basement) I’d really appreciate it!

In conclusion, I hope that when you break in you’ll find my home in order and that you will all be convinced that I am a patriotic American. And I’d appreciate it if when you’re all done snooping through my things you put everything back just the way you found it and lock the door after yourselves when you leave.

Otherwise, you’ll have some ‘splainin’ to do.

This work is in the public domain
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Comments

Re: Note to Federal Agents
02 Aug 2004
Sneak and peek...My ass!!! You come sneaking around my house. I catch your ass? You'll be going to the hospital! I find a microphone or some other crap in my house? I'll flush it down the shitter. You pigs don't realize why your boy Dubya is being booted out this election. The spying on us is one of the main reasons.
Do us all a favor...Stay the hell out of our lives!
And study the United States Constitution. After that? The Bill Of Rights. Seems that NONE of you know either.
Tell Ashcroft to pound sand!
Re: Note to Federal Agents
02 Aug 2004
If attending/reporting/being publicly associated with a few big protests is enough to place an individual under any real scrutiny from the federal government, a lot of us should have full-time teams of investigators following us around.

I think it's important that we all keep our paranoia in check. While I have no doubt that my words, my picture, video of me, and documentation of things I've done are all in the hands of the federal government, I don't have any reason to believe there's a specific file open on me, or that they'd undertake intelligence-gathering where I, specifically, was the target.

While I fully agree that the USA PATRIOT act enables them to do way too much shit to dissidents like myself, I can't let that get to me or else I'd be living a life of pure paranoia. Maybe I'm not being paranoid enough, but I think a lot of us tend to get overly paranoid about this type of thing.

Does anyone know about filing a FOIA request for themselves?
Re: Note to Federal Agents
02 Aug 2004
I don't know all the details for the FOIA, but I am pretty sure you can't get your own, especially if the file is still open, and I think there is some rule that it has to be x number of years after x. It's confusing, but that's all I know. I'm trying to get mine (unsuccessfully).
Re: Note to Federal Agents
03 Aug 2004
We're everywhere
Re: Note to Federal Agents
04 Aug 2004
Fed writes: "We're everywhere"

No you are not. We sleep well at night knowing that you are NOT everywhere and that you are incompetent.

Free Leonard Peltier!