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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 11/5/2002 6:58:05 AM EDT
[blue]So I guess they thought they could catch the Beltway Sniper through the process of elimination??[/blue] [b]FBI Agents 'Miffed' that Gun Owner Contacted Media [/b] [url]http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?Page=\Culture\archive\200211\CUL20021105a.html[/url] Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - Prior to the capture of "Beltway Sniper" suspects John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, an unconfirmed number of Maryland gun owners received surprise visits from the FBI as part of the investigation. One such gun owner had a surprise of his own for the agents when they arrived at his home. Jeff Brown of Gaithersburg, Md., was "a little nervous" when he heard the voicemail message from an FBI agent on the sniper task force who wanted to "visit" Brown at his home to check a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle Brown purchased in 1993. Adding to that apprehension was the fact that Brown owns and drives a full-sized white panel van, the type of vehicle investigators believed the sniper was driving. "I expected, actually, to be pulled over and spread-eagle on the street at some point," Brown told CNSNews.com Monday. "When he called, I knew their database had had a double hit. A white van and a .223 rifle? I knew they were coming." In a subsequent telephone conversation, Metzger reportedly told Brown that agents merely wanted to verify the serial number of the rifle and confirm that it was, in fact, still physically in Brown's possession. The two scheduled an appointment to accomplish those goals. But Brown later learned that the agents had tried at least once to make an unannounced visit, and only called because they were unable to catch him at home. "Once I told some of my friends in the pro-gun community what was happening, they began to relate some stories to me about guys having their guns confiscated, for so-called 'ballistic fingerprinting,' and not getting their guns back," Brown explained. "I became alarmed." Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said the attitude of the federal agents comes as a result of "years of accepting gun control as somehow useful for solving crimes." "The [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] went to the stores and got the lists of gun owners that had something that could fire a .223. But, it didn't solve the crime," Pratt noted. "The only reason we find that gun registration is 'useful' is for confiscation." FBI Agents 'Were Not Happy' Brown's apprehension prompted him to contact an attorney, who instructed him on preparing for the visit. So, when FBI Special Agent Greg Metzger and his partner arrived at Brown's home for their scheduled meeting, they were greeted by Brown and his wife, Mary, along with reporters and photographers from various media outlets. As Brown described the situation, the agents were "a little bit miffed." "They were not happy," he observed. "They just were not interested in being around any cameras." The agents asked Brown to step outside the home, away from the television crew, to talk. "Can we, uh ... come here," one of the agents said to Brown. Obliging, Brown stepped away from the door to speak with the agents, but still within view of the camera. Brown began recapping the agreement he had made with Special Agent Metzger. But when one of the agents realized Brown was wearing a wireless microphone, he stopped the conversation short. "Do you have a microphone on?" the agent asked as he reached toward the microphone clipped to Brown's shirt. Brown backed away and continued talking, but the agent interrupted him again. "Can you do me a favor?" the agent asked. "Can you take the apparatus off that you have on? I'd like to speak to you privately." Brown complied, but only after summoning his wife to serve as a witness to the conversation with the agents. Out of the camera's view, and believing they could not be heard, the agents challenged Brown about the presence of the media. "They were belligerent, at that point, with me. They weren't threatening me or pushing me around or touching me or anything like that, but their mannerisms and attitude quickly became offended and belligerent," Brown recalled. "I was thinking to myself, 'See, this is what I was afraid would happen if you guys came into my house, especially if I was alone.'" 'Don't You Know People Are Dying?' Parts of the conversation picked up by the camera's long-range microphone confirm Brown's account of what happened next. "Why didn't you give us a chance to do what we said we were going to do instead of ambushing us with the media? Why didn't you trust us?" one agent asked. Brown said it was not so much the words the agents used, as their attitude and body language that made him uncomfortable. "There was some lecturing about it," he said recalling one comment that did unnerve him. "One thing they said was, 'Don't you know people are dying and we're just trying to do our job?'" Brown recalled, "Of course, the inference was that I didn't care that there were people dying and I was trying to interfere with them doing their job." During that conversation, the agents reportedly admitted that they had seized other rifles, allegedly with permission, to compare them to the ballistic evidence gathered from the crime scenes. "They said, from some people, they do 'request' to take the gun with them and do 'ballistic fingerprinting,' as they call it," Brown recalled. "I just did not want to have my gun disappear." Pratt believes the agents "developed an attitude," because Brown challenged their attempts to violate his constitutional rights. "The FBI is trying to put this guy on a guilt trip because he's 'not cooperating' with the system but it's a totally useless system," Pratt argued. "They just assume that gun owners [are] all a bunch of suspects just for being gun owners and they should behave accordingly." 'They Were Doing It On Purpose' At the request of Special Agent Metzger, Brown instructed the media to stay outside his home, where they could see what was happening through a plate glass window. Brown had the unloaded weapon displayed in plain sight for the inspection. The agents followed Brown and his wife inside and confirmed the serial number on the rifle as they had said they wanted to do. But that was not the end of the encounter. "After they checked, they started [questioning Brown again], and that's when my wife stepped in and told them to leave," Brown said, noting that his wife formerly worked in law enforcement. Mary Brown believed the agents were attempting to agitate her husband, hoping he would say or do something to justify their confiscation of his rifle. "I could tell that they were doing it on purpose and I didn't like what they were doing to you," she told her husband. "So, I decided to just jump right in." The agents left the couple's property, as they were ordered to do. Jeff Brown does not believe the agents' reaction to the presence of the media, or their "brow-beating" tactics were justified. "I'm not here to make them feel happy. I have to make sure my rights are not violated. I wanted to help, but this is not Nazi Germany," he explained. "I looked [Metzger] right in the eye and said ... 'I don't care whether you're upset about being ambushed by the media. I felt I needed some witnesses here with me.'" Brown, a member of the National Rifle Association and former candidate for public office in Maryland, was also upset by what he perceived as a lack of honesty on the part of the FBI. "[Metzger] wasn't upfront with me, and I didn't have any guilty feelings about [contacting the media]," Brown said. "They weren't truthful with me. They didn't tell me all the truth. They only told me the part they wanted to hear."
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 6:58:36 AM EDT
A Message to Gun Owners? Debbie Weierman, a spokeswoman for the FBI, said the bureau would not respond to any questions about the encounter, because the probe into the multiple murders was still in progress. "We're not going to be able to get into any kind of a dialogue with you regarding any aspect of our investigation," she said. Pratt believes the response of the agents to the presence of the media shows that their main focus was not on finding the "Beltway Sniper," but rather on sending a message to gun owners. "They know it's not about crime control because, if they were really interested in finding the perpetrator they would have kept moving. Obviously this guy wasn't the guy," Pratt concluded. "What it's really all about is showing that the feds are in control in a very totalitarian sense of the word."
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 7:22:37 AM EDT
That guy was smart. Having the media there was pure genius.
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 7:33:37 AM EDT
Sounds like they were after his First Amendment rights, too.
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 7:43:11 AM EDT
Is he going to persue a lawsuit against the FBI? I want to see the video from the media...
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 7:53:00 AM EDT
He gave the agents a real education. Good for him, he's a smart guy. He learned the lessons of Ruby Ridge, Waco and Richard Jewel well. Trust the FBI? Do so at your peril. Hold them accountable with witnesses. Having the media there was brilliant. It was an Illustration of how the 1st amendment and the 2nd amendment can be used to protect each other.
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 8:07:23 AM EDT
All things considered, I'm glad the guy did call the media. Too bad if the Feebs didn't like it! Get the hell out of the kitchen if you pantywaists can't handle the heat! (My next door neighbor is an FBI/SA...I'll have to show this to him! [;D] The day the snipers were caught, the BATF came to our door. I had a bunch of company at the house from the Left Coast at the time. My sister in law is a BIG anti. When the two ATF guys showed up unannounced, they flashed their badges and asked to talk to me and my son who lives with us along with his two children 5 & 3 years. When I answered the door, the kids saw them and freaked out...now the entire household was nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs and...worst of all...my California liberal anti sister in law is telling the missus..."I TOLD you so!". I told my son to talk with them on the porch while I shooed the children into other parts of the house and calmed the missus and guests down. My son and I both own AR-15s. Two of the shootings took place in our town, within a couple of miles of our place. We figured they wanted to check us out about the rifles....not so. Turns out the feds had traced a Glock found on a citizen during one of the I-95 lockdowns to my son. He purchased the pistol at the Bullseye Gun Store in Tacoma, WA while he was stationed there in the Army in 1995. After he moved east to live with us, he sold the pistol at a local pawn/gun store. They in turn sold it to the man who was legally carrying it when stopped by the cops on the highway. The cops let him keep his Glock since he has a CCW permit...but they traced the gun back to my kid. They told him that the Army duty at Ft. Lewis, the gun purchase at Bullseye and his living in the Sniper area had triggered their data base to look into paying us a visit. That sort of bothers me too. We were all polite to each other but I was firm in my demand that we keep the conversation on the front porch. I explained that unless they had a properly executed warrant, they were not coming in MY home...but we would be glad to answer any questions thay might help them solve the case against the terrorist murderers. I wish they had called first.
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 8:12:34 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 8:18:31 AM EDT
Mr. Brown has not seen the last of the FBI.
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 8:29:57 AM EDT
"Why didn't you give us a chance to do what we said we were going to do instead of ambushing us with the media? Why didn't you trust us?" one agent asked.
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I guess no one at the FBI even considered the phrase 'Trust is a two way street'...... I respect that they have a job to do, but if they're going to harass legal gun owners needlessly then they ought to expect some harassment in return...
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 8:36:45 AM EDT
HOW DOES THE FBI FIGURE THIS GUY'S CO-OPERATION WOULD ACTUALLY HELP THEM SOLVE THE CASE???? Again, this method works through the process of elimination. Track down and check hundreds of thousands of .223 weapons. Hope they didn't change the barrel. This whole witch hunt was a silly attempt from the get go. They try and make the guy feel bad for not helping them catch a killer, but checking his gun wouldn't help. I don't get it.
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 8:43:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 9:00:41 AM EDT
Anytime the JBT's are "miffed" That makes me happy. [:D]
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 9:02:30 AM EDT
Same tactics, different administration.
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 10:03:17 AM EDT
As I said a thousand times: unless related by blood or LOOONGTIME friendship, pulling your ass from a burning vehicle, actively protecting your life or repsponding to a call that YOU made (even then be wary)... DO NOT TRUST THE COPS! They are NOT your friends. Nothing you can ever say to them (when [b]YOU[/b] are the focus of whatever) will help you. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Be polite but otherwise nothing but name, rank, and serial number so to speak. Every time I watch "Cops" when the police tell the suspect "just tell us everything...it'll go easier on you" I still half expect someone, at least one person, to respond, "well, how exactly will telling you everything HELP me?" Never happens. LEOs don't take this the wrong way--you understand the nature of the adversarial system as well as anyone so you know what I mean. Can't fault you for trying to make your job easier, just that I wish everyone knew the rules as well as you guys do.
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 10:42:40 AM EDT
Time for a taste of their own "media" medicine.
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 10:42:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/5/2002 10:44:59 AM EDT by Imbroglio]
Originally Posted By magnum_99: As I said a thousand times: unless related by blood or LOOONGTIME friendship, pulling your ass from a burning vehicle, actively protecting your life or repsponding to a call that YOU made (even then be wary)... DO NOT TRUST THE COPS!
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You are bringing you cop bashing to the wrong place. The readership here overwhelmingly supports the ability of the government to detain indefinitely and torture those suspected of crimes. If the accused weren't guilty of something, they wouldn't be questioned by the FBI or arrested would they now? WE ARE AT WAR and every coercive tool available must be employed to stop those who hate our freedoms in this great democracy.
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 12:41:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By dmuldrew: Mr. Brown has not seen the last of the FBI.
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Sadly I must agree with you there...
Link Posted: 11/5/2002 1:17:59 PM EDT
What balls of steel! I find this to be an interesting twist. The position of many in law enforcement as well as some of our own board members seems to be "If you (or I) have nothing to hide, then what's wrong with open cooperation with law enforcement or the encroachment upon the freedom from interference with our life, liberty or property without particulairzed suspicion." When the tables are turned, the FBI suddenly doesn't wish to be open with respect to their investigation. I understand the need to not tip one's hand in order to alert a suspect but certainly if this individual was a suspect, the FBI already tipped their hand to them when they called him. As to the rest of the people (potential suspects) you would have to be either naive or oblivious to believe that the FBI wasn't interviewing scores of people who were not guilty of, and had no connection to the crimes. In short, I suspect that if the FBI thought they could get away with it, they (as an agency) would love to bring back the days of starving, beating and torturing prisoners.
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