Operation OK, HOOVER: FBI v Black Socialists in America

Rush transcript of Philadelphia FBI’s attempt to frighten a 20-year-old black activist to get info on their latest would-be victims.

Good guess, gov

Phone conversation between Agent Joffrey Alcidor and Barrett Brown. BB: Can you hear me? My name is Barrett Brown. I’m calling on behalf of a young man you have asked to speak to you, a young man by the name of Arman Aston there in [00:04:41] Philadelphia. They said you left a card for him the other day. He wanted me. I’m not sure he’s not entirely sure what this is about but he is a member of … JA: Hold on. What’s your name again? BB: [00:04:58] Barrett Brown. That’s B.A.R.R.E.T.T BB: So he’s a member of the Black Socialists of America and [00:05:13] they asked me to reach out to you and just because the kid, as you probably know, is only about 20 years old and he has never dealt with law enforcement before. So they/he wanted me to just get a sense from you as to 00:05:28] you wanted to speak to him about. So if it’s something that kind of makes sense to me then I’m going to ask him to go ahead and talk to you. He just wanted to know what it’s about. JA: What’s your title? BB: [00:05:47] I don’t have a title with the Black Socialists of America. I advise them on some stuff. I do run a nonprofit called Pursuance. JA: Can you spell that? BB: P.U.R.S.U.A.N.C.E ….so it’s like pursue, but Pursuance, like an ongoing thing. JA: And your contact? BB: It’s 972 259 0524 JA: Okay, so what is the question? BB: [00:06:40] So basically he wanted to get a sense, just a broad sense, you know, nothing specific, but just wanted to get a sense of what it is that you want to talk to him about. Yeah, then that’s basically it. JA: [00:07:03] The FBI has received an online tip basically around the sense that he was kind of inciting violence towards law enforcement and so I just want to get a sense of what is going on. BB: [00:07:21]So you got a tip that he himself was involved in something perceived as advocating violence towards law enforcement. Is that correct? JA: Just trying to get his side of the story basically in regards to that. BB: So is this something that he had written publicly or said publicly? JA: Correct. BB: Okay. Okay great. I [00:07:53] I think that’s basically kind of what he wanted to know. He wanted to get a sense of what the subject matter is and I’m assuming you can’t be more specific with me? Is there anything else you want to convey to him. I’m gonna go ahead and [00:08:08] call him in a minute here and just let him know that you’re asking about, basically you want to get his side of the story regarding a tip you guys have gotten about him, basically said you, advocating, or seeming to advocate violence against law enforcement. [00:08:23] Was that it? JA: That’s correct. Just a follow up on that, just from my point of view to try to get a better understanding of the situation as far as [00:08:38] his background and everything. BB: [00:09:01] And just so I’m clear, this doesn’t necessarily concern him making what you would call a threat, in the statute, against law enforcement, it’s something about him advocating or seeming to advocate that kind of thing? JA: At this point I’m trying to assess whether it’s just something, just trying to look into [00:09:17] ….whatever his thoughts were behind that. BB: And this is and this is on something he put on Twitter or Facebook? JA: Social [00:09:32] media. BB: All right. Great. Well, that’s probably about all you can tell me. Okay, so I’m going to call him back and I’ll tell him what you said and I’ll have him reach out in whatever ways makes sense. [00:09:47] Are you guys on a full day today? The feds like You know, despite the Corona Virus? JA: kind of Yeah, [00:10:02] we got this kid is 20 years old or something like that, you know, he’s very young and you know trying to for myself personally professionally, you know, try to be an advocate for the community. So especially being in law enforcement and especially being [00:10:17] African-American, you know, there’s kind of different ways to go about this but you know, just trying to make sure that you know, there’s no viable threat towards law enforcement. If you could tell him you know, hey I understand the situation but you know [00:10:32] please don’t you know kind of as a courtesy don’t post things about that because it could be … BB: Misconstrued? JA: I’m just trying to look out for his best interests and we can just go from there. So the number to reach you on is …. BB: 972 259 0524. That’s my cell phone and speaking of which the main number on your card that you had circled, I’ve tried calling that a few minutes ago, it keeps going to [00:11:07] operator recordings saying all circuits are busy right now. I guess that’s the New Jersey office? I’m not sure if there’s something wrong with the phone lines, but I’d actually call the other the to whatever to15 number and she patched me through [00:11:22] but will that other number work later today ? JA: Yes BB: Okay. JA: Based on the conversation you have a level of understanding ….. BB: yeah, I think so. I mean, I understand, you know, and I know that the things like this it’s always kind of amorphous [00:12:23] you know obviously some of these statutes, some of the ways that you know, that they are pursued or some of the ways an FBI Bureau decides what to investigate what not to, it’s all kind of it’s obviously left up to the judgment to a great extent. And so I know that that’s there’s a lot of room for [00:12:38] interpretation and for sort of (mis) understanding on the part of law enforcement agent. So, you know, it makes sense to me I think from my standpoint for him to talk to you and explain, you know, whatever it is that he intended with this [00:12:53] and so, you know the internet threat statutes, I’m very familiar with, I know that there’s you know, it’s one of those things that it’s on the books, you know, it applies pretty broadly in the [00:13:08] way, you can know you can know apply that. There’s also some very narrow parameters as to what constitutes a serious threat. I actually have not seen his Tweet or his Facebook post or whatever it is. I’ll [00:13:23] probably take a look at that I guess . Can you tell me if there was any there was any pre-existing interest in him that I guess you wouldn’t be able to say that most cases but because [00:13:38] he seemed to believe, and this maybe misinterpretation, but he seemed to be under the impression that the FBI, the local divisions interested him may have predated this social media post. [00:13:53] But you’re saying that this is something that he just came to your attention because of this post? That is what you’re saying right? JA: Correct. We are just following up on his posts. BB:[00:15:08] The only reason I’m calling on behalf is obviously when any federal agency calls you, you don’t know who you are dealing with until you talk to them for a few minutes, because obviously it varies, so I just wanted to make sure there is good policy here so I’m satisfied on that. JA: It’s about safety, law enforcement safety at this time and so, we want to make sure, that, I guess, I’m trying to think of the best way to put it, I’m just trying to get a better understanding of what he meant by that (post), people post stuff all the time, but that came to our attention so we look into it. BB: Yeah of course. I understand. JA: I just want to get his side of the story so it doesn’t have to go further or anything, so if you talk to him, I would appreciate that, try and give me a call back this afternoon to follow up and we can get the situation resolved. BB: One more question. I feel compelled to ask. Because he would be talking to you, presumably one-on-one without without the national lawyers guild or any other body sitting in -in the interests of you know, being candid would you be able to give me kind of a just a telephone handshake kind of agreement that to the extent that he does talk to you that [00:17:11] and if he does explain that, if he gives you the sense that he did not intend, nor was his mindset such that he did violate any statutes or approach any statutes, if you’re satisfied with that [00:17:26] could you tell me that this wouldn’t be something where that conversation is going to be used perhaps in a prosecution by somebody else who changes their mind or something like that I mean, would this be entirely in good faith, this conversation? Is this an investigation that you are in charge of at this point? JA:: [00:17:56] So I have to have that conversation with him. [00:18:25] I’m just trying to have it as minimal as possible. {18.23} At this point and time it is nothing other than a conversation. BB: Okay. You know at this point in time you mean that that you know, I understand that I understand some of your phrasing. I’ll convey all this to him, you know, and I’ll tell my assessment and I’ll try to get him to speak to you. I mean, I’m [00:19:11] I am have to caution to him you know that it sounds to me like you’re on the level and sounds to me like like, you know, you, you know, just want to basically advise him like hey this is not the right thing to do, and you know that kind of thing. [00:19:28] That’s fine then so I’ll call him now and I’ll let him know to reach out to you. JA: Just in case. I’ll give you a call. [00:19:56] back when I get back to the office. BB: Alright Speaker 2: [00:20:28] Not the smartest agent in the division, probably not the dumbest either.

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