The pamphlet might be of use.
IF AN AGENT KNOCKS (the booklet) — What to do if you or your organization are targeted by federal law enforcement
- Download the English version.
- Descargue la versión en español: Si Un Agente Golpes.
- (Download the Spanish version of If An Agent Knocks.)
- ڈاؤن لوڈ ، اتارنا اردو ورژن :ایک ایجنٹ دستک دیتا ہے اگر
- (Download the Urdu version of If An Agent Knocks.)
- تحميل النسخة العربية : إذا الدقات عامل
- (Download the Arabic version of If An Agent Knocks.)
Federal law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have a dark history of targeting radical and progressive movements. Some of the dirty tricks they use against these movements include: the infiltration of organizations to discredit and disrupt their operations; campaigns of misinformation and false stories in the media; forgery of correspondence; fabrication of evidence; and the use of grand jury subpoenas to intimidate activists. Today’s activist must know and understand the threat posed by federal law enforcement agents and their tactics as well as several key security practices that offer the best protection.
Federal agents have many tools at their disposal to target activists. While it is important to know and understand these tools and tactics, it is of critical importance that you resist any paranoia of government surveillance or fear of infiltration, which will only serve to paralyze you or your organization in your quest for social change. If fear of government repression prevents you from organizing, the agents of repression will have won without even trying.
The Center for Constitutional Rights created If an Agent Knocks to provide advice to activists likely to be targeted by FBI agents or other federal investigators. Since its original release in 1989, If an Agent Knocks has been widely circulated in progressive activist communities across the country. This guide includes both the timeless advice included in the original version and extensive updates to reflect the current state of the law and law enforcement tools. This updated edition also includes a comprehensive discussion of today’s technology, including cell phones, e-mail and web browsing. This guide should be seen as a resource for the information needed to protect yourself and other activists from government investigation and to empower you to continue the struggle.
We have attempted to provide answers to a broad range of questions for the many scenarios that one can encounter as an activist. We hope individuals and groups use this pamphlet to develop and prepare practical responses – if an agent knocks at your door.
Disclaimer: This booklet is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. CCR aims to provide a general description of the legal and practical issues that progressive or radical activists might face. Each person’s circumstances are unique, and minor factual differences may result in very different answers to the questions presented here. For answers to specific legal problems, issues or questions, obtain the advice of a qualified attorney in your area.
AnarchistNews.org. July 26:
From the EWOK! zine, parts of which are still relevant though the org may be defunct:Often, when folks find themselves having been visited or otherwise solicited for information by law enforcement, their reaction is to keep the fact that they’ve been targeted for government harassment quiet. In reality, however, the worst thing (next to cooperating!) that you can do in this situation is to keep it to yourself. In doing so, you deprive yourself of community support at a time that may be stressful and even terrifying and, simultaneously, you help the government maintain a veil of secrecy around the harassment and surveillance they use to destroy resistance movements.
Many people who’ve been harassed by law enforcement officers report having been threatened with negative consequences should they choose to go public about the incident. This, like so much of what they’ll tell you, is utter and complete bullshit. YOU ARE NOT LEGALLY BOUND TO KEEP THEIR SECRETS, and the fact that they often lie and try to convince you that you are only speaks to the fact that doing so benefits them, while spreading the word benefits us. Part of their strategy for repressing dissent is to quietly isolate individuals from their communities and terrorize them into cooperating in their efforts. If we expose what they’re doing every time they do it, we strip them of the freedom and protection that secrecy offers- think of it as a little counter-counter-insurgency tactic.
Publicizing government harassment is a protective measure. As we build a culture where people talk about and prepare for government repression, and support those facing it, we reduce the number of people who will turn on their comrades to save their own asses. If you come from a community where everyone is informed about incidents of harassment and knows how to deal with them calmly and effectively, and where not cooperating is the norm, you’ll be better equipped to deal with more serious situations as they arise. Whether or not you ever have been or ever will be involved in illegal activity, it’s possible that you, or someone you care about, or someone they care about, will at some point find themselves sitting in a jail cell being given the option of cooperating in exchange for some sort of leniency in charges or sentencing. And even if you don’t support ELF actions or other things that people are being indicted for these days, the old adage holds true with law enforcement: “give ’em an inch, and they’ll take down every poor fucker they can get their hands on.” That is, acquiescing to law enforcement demands that we remain silent about the things they do is just like giving a mouse a vegan cookie- who wants just one vegan cookie, after all?
Lastly, letting your community know that you’ve been visited is important because law enforcement visits are dangerous for everyone, not just the particular person who’s been visited, and you owe your community any information that may keep them safer. You don’t and can’t necessarily know exactly who may be endangered by government activity, but you can be sure that making it possible for those people it may affect to find out about it will help them. When you get visited, you may not have any idea why they’re asking what they’re asking- this could be because they’re wacked out creepers who don’t know what they’re talking about, or it could be that their asking about things that you had no involvement in. It’s not uncommon for visits to be made in a desperate attempt to find any in into radical circles that may, eventually, lead to a suspect. Thus, it’s important to be cautious about acting rashly and publicizing details (e.g., names mentioned, actions, etc.) of a visit in a way that will only incite open and potentially incriminating speculation in your community, and to balance that against the need to get as much information as possible out into the public realm so that people who it may affect can take appropriate actions to protect themselves. So, while there’s no doubt that you should go public immediately with your experience of government harassment, you should also take the time to consult with trusted friends and support networks to determine the best way to do so and still avoid unwittingly getting others in trouble.