Privacy / Big Brother
A transcript of a radio program on American Freedom Network, hosted by Don Wildmon in which an FBI agent speaks about Project Megiddo. I have posted this as it was received, so spelling errors may be in tact.
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11/23/99: (Tue.) Don Wildmon host of FREEDOM FORUM, and co-host David Bresnahan (**SPELLING??**) of WorldNetDaily.com on KHNC 1360 AM Radio, Mon.-Fri., with guest Greg Rampton, who is the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Denver (FBI) Field Office regarding Project Megiddo.
DW: And welcome to our show. It's FREEDOM FORUM, and I'm your host, Don Wildmon. We're up on the AMERICAN FREEDOM NETWORK. So glad you could join us tonight. We have a special show for you tonight. And we have some of the FBI people coming aboard here on our show tonight, and we have mainly Greg Rampton, who is the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Office. He's on board with us here tonight. And we're going to be talking about Project Megiddo. We've had a lot of calls, and there has been a lot of talk on the show about the whole thing, and a lot of Christians are concerned that they are being possibly swept all together with a broad beam with the Christian Identity and the Aryan Nation and the Klu Klux Klan and like that. So we've asked the FBI if they would have somebody come on the air with us and talk about these things, and see, you know, what the Denver office, how they look at these things. And so I wanted to welcome Greg Rampton with us here. Greg, welcome to the AMERICAN FREEDOM NETWORK.
GR: Thank you very much, and happy to be here.
DW: And let's go, let's go right for it concerning the Project Megiddo. I downloaded today Louis Freeh's, who is the Director of the FBI, his statement, FBI Core Guidelines (**SPELLING??**) and I want to read a little bit here. It says: "Strategic Plan for accomplishing the FBI's mission must begin by identifying the core values which need to be preserved and defended by the FBI in conformance with statutory issues. These values are rigorous obedience to the Constitution of the United States and respect for the dignity of all those who effect compassion and fairness in uncompromising personal and institutional integrity. These values do not withdraw the many goals which we wish to seek, but they capsulize them as well as can be done in a fair way. (**SPELLING??**) Our values must be fully understood, practiced and shared vigorously and defended and preserved." And I underlined the part that says "rigorous obedience to the Constitution of the United States." And I was thinking as I read that that there are some people that said one of the reasons why the United States of America has become great is because of their faith in the God of the Bible, and the fact that we have a Constitution that helps protect our God-given rights. And so, you know, we know that government individuals like you take an Oath to defend the Constitution, is that right?
GR: That's correct. I took that Oath some 28 years ago, and I am very serious about that Oath and the responsibility that comes with that. And I can't argue with anything that you've said.
DW: All right. You have a few things you wanted to say first of all, kind of setting the stage here, as we look at Project Megiddo?
GR: Yes. I think that I understand that some of your listeners, and perhaps many of your listeners, were concerned as they learned of Project Megiddo and perhaps had a chance to read it, that the FBI, in producing this analysis, directed primarily towards law enforcement officials, had painted with a broad brush, and that perhaps some of the individuals who hold beliefs that are similar or dissimilar to those mentioned in the Report felt that they were unfairly labeled. When this Report first came out, there was some controversy, and the FBI issued a Press Release back in October clarifying some of the points made in the Report. I think it is instructive, perhaps at the top of this show, to read what it was the FBI said in order to clarify so that your listeners and we will start off more or less at the same point. And I will go ahead and read that now, if that's all right.
DW: Good, go ahead.
GR: "For several years the FBI has had a program of reaching out to militias and their members to explain the FBI's role in investigating violations of law and to stress open lines of communication with militia groups. This was done also to ensure the militias that there was no intent to deny anyone their Constitutional rights, nor was there a targeting of any militia groups who were otherwise engaged in legitimate, protected activity. The FBI realizes that the majority of militia members engage in and support law-abiding activities. However, the FBI will investigate illegal activities coming within the purview of its investigative responsibilities. In fact, the FBI is fully cognizant of the fact that some militias have taken positive steps towards ridding themselves of violent extremist elements. It is these violent extremist elements that could be violating laws which could subject them to investigations by the FBI. Often these extreme members will splinter from more established groups and engage in violence autonomously. These elements are often very small cells or lone actors. The contact with militia members has proven effective in that the more mainstream militia groups have been helpful in identifying the more extremist elements of the militia who may resort to acts of violence." "Project Megiddo is the culmination of an FBI research initiative which analyzed the potential for extremist criminal activity in the U.S. by individuals or domestic groups who attach special significance to the Year 2000. In an effort to educate investigators and officials and the law enforcement community about potential violence associated with or motivated by the arrival of the Year 2000, the FBI conducted extensive research into the various ideologies and concepts which serve to motivate groups or individuals with violent agendas. Many extremists place significance on the next Millennium and may present challenges to law enforcement authorities. The significance is based primarily upon Apolyptic religious beliefs or political beliefs concerning the NEW WORLD ORDER conspiracy theory. The Report is intended to provide a clear, measured and responsible picture of potential extremism motivated by the next Millennium and to increase awareness among law enforcement officials of the unique challenges that may be presented by extremists motivated by Millennial agendas. The Study has been distributed to appropriate law enforcement personnel around the country, and it provides an overview of various extremist idealogies, specifically those which advocate or call for violent action beginning in the Year 2000. Such ideologies motivate violent white supremacists who seek to initiate a race war, Apolyptic cults which anticipate a violent Armageddon, radical elements of private citizen militias who fear that the United Nations will initiate an armed takeover of the United States and subsequently establish a one-world government, and other groups or individuals which promote violent Millennial agendas." "The Report also discusses how extremists interpret Biblical and/or other religious scriptures to justify their agendas, and how certain extremist elements point to the so-called Y2K computer crisis as an indicator of eminent social chaos and unrest. In addition to addressing key Millennial concepts and the ideological or religious motivations behind Millennial extremism, Project Megiddo outlines a number of issues of which law enforcement officers should be cognizant, including indicators of potential violence, possible preparations for violence and a general discussion of possible targets of Millennial extremists. Law enforcement officials are encouraged in the Report to further educate themselves on other issues discussed in the Project."
DW: All right. The FBI usually helps educate local police forces, don't they, around the state and things like that?
GR: That's correct. We conduct training programs in various subjects for state and local law enforcement officers.
DW: Uh huh. We've got David Bresnahan (**SPELLING??**). David, do you want to come on?
DB: Sure, I'm here to do that.
DW: All right. Did you have any questions for Greg?
DB: I'd love to, and I appreciate the opportunity to be with you on your program. And I'm sorry, when I came on, there was some kind of clicking, and I did not hear the officer's name.
DW: All right, it's Greg Rampton.
DW: And he's the Assistant, let me see,
GR: Special Agent in Charge.
DW: Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Office.
DW: And this is David Bresnahan (**SPELLING??**). He's an investigative reporter out of Utah, and he's been looking at this Project Megiddo for a little bit of time.
DB: Nice to be with you. Can I call you Greg?
GR: Sure, David, go ahead, sure.
DB: Project Megiddo, when it all came to a head, I suppose at the beginning of November, attracted a great deal of attention particularly because it became obvious that this was written and provided by the ADL. Is that correct?
GR: Well, I'm not sure who it became obvious to. It was not written by the ADL.
DB: They're taking credit for it on their web site.
GR: Well, I haven't seen
DB: They're bragging about it.
GR: I guess anyone could say anything, but the truth of the matter is that it was an effort by FBI agents and analysts. And the information that they used in order to prepare the Report came from a variety of sources. Some of those sources of information could have been militia groups themselves. They could have been, and probably were, could have been ADL literature or information. We gather information from a variety of sources, then we have to weigh and evaluate that information. But the authors of the Report are FBI employees.
DB: There is quite a bit of information about this being displayed on the ADL website, the Southern Poverty Law (Center) web site, the Militia Watchdog website; those three particularly are pointing to this as being the fruits of their efforts to provide the FBI with information on supposed subversive elements within the society. And there's a great deal of discussion on those web sites of similar efforts to provide information to the FBI. There is kind of a network on the Militia Watchdog web site of people who call (in) information from newspapers, local newspapers and spend time on the Internet all day seeking and finding information. And apparently there's similar type of activity with the other groups as well. What kinds of groups would the FBI get information from, and how do you determine whether or not that information is accurate and viable?
GR: Well, the FBI obtains information from public sources, such as the ones you've mentioned. We have individual citizens who have information which they think is of importance to us, and they provide that information. We have our own sources of information, individuals that we work with regularly that we task sometimes to obtain information. Some of these individuals may be members of some of these organizations that might advocate or that might be engaged in violent activity. So we obtain our information from a variety of sources. As you well know, in the law enforcement community our stock and trade is information. But we have to evaluate that information. And the way that we evaluate that information is comparing it against what we know. We compare one source of information with another source of information. We'll compare it with our past investigations. We'll compare it with what's going on currently in the community. And we'll have to make some assessments. Obviously gathering information is only part of the problem. Making some assessments, and then acting upon those assessments and judging the outcome, then going back and re-evaluating -- all of that's part of the intelligence game, if you will, which we, of necessity, are engaged in.
DB: Sure, and I certainly understand; being an investigative reporter, I hunt and seek information under every rock I can find. It would appear, though, that the ADL has taken a rather strong lead in perhaps guiding the direction of things in many instances, and there is a history of that. But in this particular instance, the ADL issued a Press Release at the time of the Police Chief's Convention where the Project Megiddo was handed out. And that was picked up by the Washington Post, which ran a story right about the beginning of November. And the story that they ran, although it came with the reporter's byline, was pretty much word-for-word what was contained in the Press Release. And it seems rather odd that publicity for a document that you say was written by the FBI, that they say that they wrote, that it was interesting that a Press Release would come from the ADL; and it appears that that Release was strategically sent out a day or two earlier to the Washington Post, and then later to other media. Why would the ADL want to publicize a document given to police chiefs by the FBI, and why would they want to say that it's their document and take pride in that?
GR: Well, I can't get in someone else's mind, and I can only speculate, but I think that they may have been trying to publicize the fact that they issued a document that was similar called "Y2K Paranoia: Extremists Confront the Millennium," which was published, I think, a couple of days in advance of our distribution of Project Megiddo to, or at the International Association of Chiefs of Police meeting here recently. If you read that document, it has some similarities to Project Megiddo, but it is by no means a duplicate of that document. I think that if you, on one side of the country, and I on another side of the country, both were movie reviewers and reviewed the movie "(Saving) Private Ryan," that of necessity we would probably say some of the same things, because we are both concentrating on the same subject -- and not that we had collaborated on our reviews, but that someone reading both reviews might say, "Well, these two got together and one wrote the other, or one wrote both of them." But, I think that the truth of the matter is that we would realize we had both examined the same subject and came to some of the same conclusions. And for whatever reason, I think that that may be the case here, that if you read the ADL publication, and you read Project Megiddo, you'll see some of the same information being examined. And that's probably because two people or two groups examined the same problem.
DB: There is a large number of organizations that fall within the categories described in Project Megiddo and named there. Most of them would be regarded by an observer as being conservative, right-wing organizations in nature. Why is, why don't we see any left-wing-type organizations as part of that?
GR: Well, I think it has to do with why Project Megiddo was undertaken in the first place and why the Report was issued. It deals with the potential for extremist activity in the United States by groups who profess an Apolyptic view of the Millennium, or attach special significance to the Year 2000. I don't think you're seeing much of that coming from the left-wing groups, as you term them.
DB: Well are there not left-wing-type of groups that might be espousing some type of violence, or be considered potentially dangerous groups, whether they profess something Apocalyptic or not?
GR: Oh certainly. And not all of the groups that are mentioned in Project Megiddo are Apocalyptic in nature, or have an Apolyptic view. But some of them have, or attach a special significance to the Year 2000. And the reason that they are examined in Project Megiddo is not because they profess that Apolyptic view, or have a special significance in their beliefs to the Year 2000, but because that they may have some violent tendencies that might exhibit themselves when the Year 2000 arrives. As far as leftist groups that might have some of those same beliefs, there very well may be some out here. I'm not personally aware of any.
DB: Are you familiar with one of the employees of the ADL by the name of Neil Herman (**SPELLING??**) ?
GR: No, I'm not.
DB: He is a former FBI Special Agent and worked with counter-terrorism. Are you aware that many of the people that are involved in some of the research and intelligence gathering for the ADL are former FBI agents?
GR: No, I'm not. In fact, I'd probably be surprised. But I'm not aware of that.
DB: OK, fair enough. The militia groups that are out there certainly have experienced, as many conservative right-wing groups have experienced, extremist-type individuals who have found themselves affiliated with them in some form or another; and yet militia groups, as I have investigated them as a journalist, seem to be made up of quite a few what you'd call "Joe Average Citizen" who seems to be concerned about his community and involved in various aspects, groups that -- I just spoke with one today with a Police Chief, even, along with a militia leader in a small rural community, they're running their Cert Program in the community for them in a very cooperative effort. And the Police Chief said, you know, 'working great together,' 'have no problems,' and as far as he's concerned Project Megiddo is in his circular file. What is it about militia organizations that causes concern? I have not been able to find, as I have investigated, I have not been able to find a militia organization anywhere that's advocating any kind of offensive, violent action for the first of the year, or at any time. And so I'm wondering why they are considered to be dangerous by the FBI.
GR: Well, I think, I don't think that the FBI considers them to be dangerous. I think if you look at Project Megiddo one of the statements made, after the analysis was concluded and the Report was issued, is that the majority of militia groups are non-violent, and only a small segment of the militias actually commit acts of violence to advance their political goals and beliefs. Some, such as the Michigan Militia, have even gone to an effort, to lengths to rid themselves of radical members that are inclined to violence. So I don't think that the FBI considers the militias dangerous per se. But I think that the FBI has identified individuals on the fringes of some of these militias that may take some of these beliefs to an extreme and commit acts of violence. I think that Terry Nichols is one individual that might be held up as an example, and there are others -- not that the militia meetings that he attended, that those other individuals in those meetings espoused those beliefs at all -- but that some of those beliefs that predict a violent end, a race war, that are an end to the nation that is preceded by a race war, those kinds of beliefs, while not offensive in and of themselves, could attract individuals that might take those and attempt in effect make them become a self-fulfilling prophecy and attempt to foment those kinds of things themselves. The individual
DW: Let me break in here a little bit. We're gonna cancel our breaks so we don't lose our line of thought. And let me get a caller. J- from Ft. Collins, Colorado, welcome, J-.
DW: Make it short and concise, would you please?
J-: OK, I'm a person who's a non-Christian, non-militia member, but I do listen to the radio station, I buy their products, I do, you know, I go to Preparedness Expos, I go to gun shows, and things like that.
DW: All right, get to your point.
J-: What's my liability in this situation?
GR: Well, I don't know that you have any liability in this situation. I think that you can be assured, as the rest of the listeners can be assured, that the FBI does not investigate individuals for their beliefs, their political or religious or otherwise; that in order to for us to initiate an investigation we have to have facts or circumstances which reasonably indicate that a Federal crime has been, is being, or will be committed. And so those are the standards that we have to adhere to.
J-: Well, one of the things that I know that I've heard other people say is that, you know, I buy products from the AMERICAN FREEDOM NETWORK and stuff like that. Are we on some kind of database that says we're potential lunatics?
GR: No, not at all. Not at all. There are very strict rules that the FBI has to follow with regard to the kinds of information we collect, and the kind of information that we can retain.
DB: Greg, David Bresnahan (**SPELLING??**) here. Isn't that exactly the role that some of the other sources of information provide for you? You can't necessarily get information, whereas the ADL or Militia Watchdog might be able to obtain it for you?
GR: Well, they can obtain information, but unless it has a clear nexus to one of our authorized investigative activities, we can't even retain it. And under the Privacy Act of 1974 there are very strict rules about the kinds of information that we can obtain, whether we obtain it ourselves, as an agent going out and gathering the information, or -- go ahead
J-: Let me ask you a direct question.
DW: All right, wind it up with this, J-.
J-: OK. If I buy a product from the AMERICAN FREEDOM NETWORK, am I on a database?
GR: No. That's as direct an answer as I can give you. No, you're not. Not on an FBI database. You may be on the AMERICAN FREEDOM NETWORK's database, and they may send you some advertisements, but you're not on an FBI database.
J-: OK, thanks.
DW: All right, thanks. And let me see, we've got another call. We've got A- from Colorado. Make it quick, A-.
DW: Go ahead.
A-: OK, hi. What's the name of your guest again?
DW: Greg Rampton.
A-: Greg. Hi, how are you doin' this evening?
GR: Fine, how are you this evening.
A-: I'm not too bad. A couple of things that I'd like to mention is my mom used to work for Congressman .... in Florida, and so forth, and anytime anybody -- excuse me, a little touch of a bug still -- anytime that anybody ever wrote in, they would keep a file on a person that wrote in so they could keep track of, you know, their "case file," if you will. Something that you mentioned a little bit earlier is retention of information. I would highly dispute that. I used to be in anti-terrorist hostage rescue information with the military, and nobody ever throws away any information at all.
A-: You know, you made mention of one thing as far as you know, retention of information somehow, and that just kind of tweaked me one bit, and I'd like you to elaborate on that if you will.
DW: Thank you.
GR: Sure. Under the Privacy Act of 1974, it governs the collection of information that a government agency can collect, and it provides that a government agency shall maintain no record describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained, or unless pertinent to, and within the scope of, an authorized law enforcement activity. So if the information that's sent to us doesn't fall within that scope, then we are not permitted to retain it. Now individuals send us a lot of information. And some of that information may be pertinent to an investigation and it's retained and evaluated and perhaps acted upon. If an individual sends us information which is clearly unrelated, we have the option of putting it in the circular file that was mentioned earlier. And we often do that. Sometimes we retain information just so that we have the ability to go back to the individual that furnished the information, in case they send us additional information that might be a follow-up. So we might keep that industrial's name on our records, the one who sent us the information, but not necessarily the individuals who are mentioned in the body of information.
DW: All right. We're gonna move on, A-. And I believe we've got B- from Montana.
B-: Yes, good evening Don, and good evening Dave and Greg.
B-: This is for Greg. I believe the only people who are going to cause any violence around the turn of the century here are agent provocateurs who are in these groups that you talked about that you'd infiltrated into, just as you folks did with the World Trade Center bombing, your informant helped build the bomb, OK. And with the Oklahoma bombing, Cary Gagan, who had immunity, he helped haul explosives to Oklahoma, and he hauled igniters up from Mexico City.
DW: All right, get to your point, B-.
B-: OK, well my point is, I think the only danger out there at this turn of the century is the FBI itself. Now I'm a Christian, and I've been warning people about this NEW WORLD ORDER for several years, and it's easy, with just a modest amount of research you can see they're pushing for this world government. And there's a document, State Department Document 7277, which is a 3-step plan to disarm this nation and turn the military over to the United Nations. And anybody can go and read this document and see that this is the truth. And Public Law 87-297 was the law that put this document into place, and right now this law is part of the Federal Code.
DW: All right, B-, let's let Greg respond.
B-: OK, I'll drop off and listen off the air.
DW: All right.
GR: I think that reasonable people can agree to disagree. And I would heartily disagree with your assessment that the FBI is the only entity out there that we have to be concerned about as we approach the Year 2000. And as to your other statements, I'm not sure that I can even respond to those. I disagree with them, of course, but that's what this is all about. We're here to listen to your viewpoints, and hopefully you'll be able to listen to ours as well.
DW: All right, fine. And David, did you have a short comment on what was said?
DB: Well, a follow-up question, if I could. I understand, Greg, just exactly what you're saying. I'm wondering if you could comment a little bit, because the past caller is a good example, I think, of the level of trust and confidence the American people have in law enforcement in general, and the FBI in particular. In the past few years, Waco and Ruby Ridge certainly have contributed to those misgivings that the people of this country seem to have, and I hear this expressed frequently. And I'm wondering if the FBI is consciously making any kind of an effort to work on its public image.
GR: Well, I'm not sure that "working on our public image" would be the correct way to term it. I think that we're very concerned about how the public perceives us, because we rely heavily on public support in individual and in larger settings, in order to fulfill our mission. I think that, with regard to Ruby Ridge and Waco and some of the other controversial incidents that have occurred recently, that the FBI is ready, willing and able to withstand a full examination of those things. And I think the recent Congressional Committee that has been empaneled to review Waco will provide a very unbiased and truthful evaluation of what occurred there. I think that the result will be favorable to the FBI, but that remains to be seen. And we realize that we're accountable to the American public, and we're ready to be held accountable. And so we welcome these kinds of reviews of what we've done so that, hopefully in the end, the public will come away with more confidence in the FBI than less. I've seen an erosion of that confidence over the last 28 years, as the public has become more skeptical of all government institutions, not just the FBI. And I think that there's in general a healthy skepticism about anything the government does; and, unfortunately, that can sometimes hinder the truth. A wise man once said that "truth is always in short supply, but invariably supply exceeds demand." (laugh) So I think we have to be very careful about our skepticism, and, hopefully, that it will lead us to the truth, and not away from the truth.
DW: All right, hold on, David, and let's bring J1- from Colorado. Quickly, J1-.
DW: You're on.
J1-: Can you hear me?
DW: Yes, go ahead.
J1-: Thank you for letting me on. Greg, and Dave, and all, it's good to talk to you. I have two questions: #1: Would the decision-makers, policy-makers or some group in authority within the FBI view the ideas, implementation and execution of Marxist ideology deeply within our bureaucracy -- perhaps even up at the executive level -- perceive that as a threat to the Constitution and to the life-blood of America? And #2: Does my belief that there is a wink and a nod, and there is some sort of a hand that moves us towards an internationalism, which seems to fly in the face of the notion of sovereignty, make me an "extremist"?
DW: All right, thanks J1-. Greg, do you want to respond to those two questions? One has to do with Marxism being promoted in this country, is that a threat to our country? ....
GR: Well, I think he asked whether or not the policymakers within the FBI would view that as a threat. I think you have to understand the mission of the FBI, and that is to, while upholding the Constitution, our specific mission is to investigate crimes committed that are violations of Federal law. And so while people espouse certain ideologies that may give pause to the general populace, that's not necessarily a subject for an FBI investigation or FBI concern. We personally might be concerned about something someone says or does, but as an institution, or as an agency, the FBI doesn't express that concern in terms of action unless there is a reasonable indication that someone has been, or is, or will commit a Federal crime. So as to Marxist ideology being espoused by individuals who may or may not be policymakers within the Federal government that's really beyond the purview of the FBI's mission. And the 2nd question as to whether or not that would make you an "extremist" because you have certain concerns about the move towards an international one-government order, or something along those lines, that does not necessarily make you an extremist in terms of what the FBI views. We look at an individual as an "extremist" who has, or is, or is about to engage in some sort of act of violence that might be in violation of Federal law. So while we may personally have some concerns professionally, as an agency, we can only express our concerns in terms of the agency's primary mission.
DW: All right, let's go to another caller. J2- from Colorado, line 2.
J2-: Good evening, gentlemen, this is J2- from Colorado. Greg, are you, is the FBI agency here in Colorado also monitoring New Age groups? One in particular that I have in mind is headed by a very, very wealthy Canadian by the name of Maurice Strong, along with a lady, an actress, by the name of Shirley McLaine? They have purchased a very large parcel of land called Bacca (**SPELLING??**) and they have a temple there, and they are also involved in the coming of the Millennium. What about that?
GR: Well, I think that I probably can't say that, and I don't want to be drawn into a discussion as, "Well, is the FBI investigating this group?" Or, "Is the FBI investigating that group?" All I can say is that we are only investigating groups where we have some sort of reasonable indication that they're involved in some violation of Federal law. And so I can't comment on any investigations that we are or aren't conducting. So I'm really not in a position to say.
DW: All right, thanks J2-. And David, I'll bring you back on if you had any other questions?
DB: Yeh, I have one question, if I can add this to the mix, if you don't mind. It's not Project Megiddo, but it's interesting to find out a little bit about how the FBI works internally and how decisions might be made. I take you back to the time of Secretary (of Commerce) Ron Brown, before his unfortunate plane crash. There was an investigation taking place that involved him, as well as 50+ other business people. And upon his death, the couple hundred special agents and clerical staff combined that were in a fairly large office engaged in that project were suddenly, and without a whole lot of warning, notified that that investigation was called off and brought to an end, that even though indictments were pending, the whole thing was dropped just because the man at the top of the totem pole was now dead. And I'm wondering if the FBI is in pursuit of those breaking Federal law -- maybe you can't comment specifically about that incident -- but how is it determined whether to proceed forward in an investigation, or to drop the thing, as this one was? If you can comment specifically, great; if not, perhaps you can comment in general.
GR: Well, I can't comment specifically on that investigation because I wasn't a part of it, and I don't know the decision-making, or the information that the individuals responsible for that investigation had in making those decisions. In general, the decision to open an investigation and pursue an investigation is made within a particular field office. Some investigations that are national in scope, decisions such as that, will be made at our FBI Headquarters. And I think I know where you're going with this question, and I can say that in the 28 years that I've been in the FBI that decisions to investigate or not investigate have been free, in terms, insofar as I've been involved, free of outside influences, in other words, political influences or other undue influences, and that the FBI is remarkably one of the, or an agency that is remarkably free of political influences from the outside.
DW: One short comment on that David?
DB: Well, I appreciate the comment, and I understand that you weren't specifically associated with that, so I won't go into specific questions about that incident. But one thing that seems to be apparent is that the FBI is very political in that influence comes from above, specifically from the White House, from Janet Reno's office. In that particular instance, there was a memo from the Justice Department that brought the thing to an end. And so it would seem from the political side that indeed that there's politics involved, and you've got to please the boss.
GR: Well, I think to a certain extent there you have to understand the lines of authority. The FBI is not an autonomous Federal agency. The FBI is an arm of the Department of Justice, and we all work for the Department of Justice ultimately. Even though Director Louis Freeh is our Director, we are under Attorney General Janet Reno. And I think it's well documented in the press, and in other forums, that she has not always agreed with the White House and has, in authorizing investigations and special prosecutors; I think the recent history will bear that out. And there have been differences that have been documented in the press between Director Freeh and Attorney General Reno. And so I don't think that you can say that that is an indication of political influence necessarily, that individuals will disagree over the way that investigations should be conducted, or whether or not investigations should be conducted. And there is a healthy discourse about that at all levels, within the FBI and between the FBI and the Department of Justice. But ultimately someone has to make the decision, and the person who makes the decision is the one who has the authority.
DB: Do you keep a file on people, such as the operators of AMERICAN FREEDOM NETWORK, or the people at my newspaper, WorldNetDaily.com, because we tend to write about conservative issues, and such as what we're talking about here today? Does that make us a target for an investigation?
GR: No, not at all. As I mentioned before, there are very strict Guidelines as to how we conduct investigations. The Guidelines that we operate under are what we term the Attorney General Guidelines, which became effective back in March of 1983. And in terms of domestic security investigations, or domestic terrorism investigations, quoting basically from those Guidelines, that such an investigation may be initiated when the facts or circumstances reasonably indicate that two (2) or more persons are engaged in enterprise for the purpose of furthering political or social goals, wholly or in part, through activities that involve force or violence and the violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. If you're not engaged in that, then you're not a target of the investigation.
DW: All right, David, we've got to move on. Thank you.
DB: Thanks. Let's go to .... (cannot hear AFN tape -- end of SIDE 1).
D-: ... why when we read that, we perceive that as being an attempt at whatever happens here in the near future that you're gonna blame it on us, and I think that we have some historical evidence that would back that fear up, that whatever happens, if anything happens at all on New Year's Eve, that you're prepared to blame anybody associated with dissent against the Federal government. And that's how we perceive this. And, unfortunately, you know, you're getting ready to blame us, and we're getting ready to blame you, because there is a large segment of the patriot community who do believe that agent provocateurs will incite violence, and it will give you an opportunity to come around and demonize us. It's Waco all over again essentially.
DW: All right, let's let him respond, D-.
GR: Well, D-, I can certainly understand how you feel. I think that two people reading Project Megiddo who are on opposite sides of an ideological fence can come to very different conclusions. And if I hop to the other side of the fence for just a moment and view it from your viewpoint, I could see where you might think that. And I think that that's unfortunate. Perhaps it could have been more clearly written, but you need to understand that first of all the Project Megiddo was, its target audience was law enforcement. And in an attempt to assist law enforcement to, not necessarily to identify groups who would create violent acts or engage in violent activity, but to be alert to potential problems that might occur as a result of, say civil unrest occurring because of computer problems at the Y2K rollover.
DW: You really don't perceive Megiddo as just more government gibberish, do you?
GR: Well, no, I don't see it as government gibberish. I think that it was intended for a limited audience, to assist those. But it wasn't an attempt to demonize anyone.
D-: Well, we certainly perceive it was demonization, I've got to tell you.
GR: Well, I understand that you do, and I'm sorry that that's the case. Hopefully, through intercourse such as this, we'll be able to both of us understand one another better so that we can prevent those things.
D-: Thank you.
DW: I think also, Greg, thanks D- for calling in. Greg, also there is also I think sometimes there is that rogue element within the Bureaus that have their own agenda, which you may not be aware of, but you have to admit that there is a possibility of a rogue element within the FBI that has their own agenda. I want to go to R- from southern Colorado. Welcome R-.
R-: Good afternoon, Greg.
DW: Real quick, because we're running out of time. We've got other callers.
R-: Two quick questions, Greg. #1: You mentioned earlier that the FBI spends a lot of time training other law enforcement, state and local.
GR: Yes. We, well, a certain percentage of our time is spent in training others, yes.
R-: Well, in my conversations with local law enforcement, and also some instructors from schools within the state here, a lot of the training of the officers goes to that, if you're not a government employee out there, you are the "enemy". I've run across that more than once. Can you comment to that?
GR: Well, if anyone's given that impression, that's entirely the wrong impression to give. It's certainly not the attitude that we intend to give when we conduct our training sessions. I think that as well as anybody the FBI realizes that we derive our authority from the public, and we serve the public. I'm very cognizant of that, and I'm very aware of that, because I've got a lot of family that's public, just like you. And I think that a public servant is something that is to be taken seriously. So if anyone gives that impression, they're entirely wrong in doing so.
R-: I have one other question.
DW: All right real quick.
R-: Greg, do you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
GR: I certainly do.
R-: Praise the Lord. Thank you.
DW: All right, let's go to M-. M-, welcome.
M-: Yeh, good afternoon Don and Greg.
DW: Real quick.
M-: Greg, it's good to talk to you. You sound like an honest man, and I certainly hope that you take your Oath of Office seriously. I know that there are many listening here to the station that do. And I want to take you back with a question -- and I know it will put you on the spot to this credibility issue of the FBI -- because as I listen to your answers, I found that I wanted to believe you, but I'm forced to listen to those answers through the lense of knowing who your bosses are at the highest level. And the fact of knowing that at the very highest level one of those individuals committed perjury, put his hand on the Bible and violated his Oath of Office. And the other one is guilty, I believe very clearly, of crimes.
DW: All right, what is your, what do you want to ask?
M-: Well, my question is, and I simply want to ask him how is it that, given that we know the character of those individuals, that we can trust the FBI, who in turn is a direct assignee of them?
GR: I think that, and I'm not, I can only guess who you're referring to, but
M-: Well, I'll be real frank. You know the answers. It's Janet Reno, who talked about a good rental car (**SPELLING??**) as people were being executed at Waco, and it's Bill Clinton who, everyone in this country who is paying attention knows, is a perjurer and a liar. And so how do we trust agencies that are, who sound good, and who took an Oath just like those people did?
GR: I think if you had a chance to sit down with the 11,700 Special Agents of the FBI and had a conversation with them, and one-on-one, you would come to the same conclusion that I've come to, and that these are law-abiding, patriotic individuals who take their Oath to uphold and support the Constitution very seriously.
DW: All right. With that, we're gonna have to close, because our hour is up. And I want to thank everybody. Thank you, David Bresnahan (**SPELLING??**) for joining us.
DB: Thank you.
DW: And everyone else that called. And Greg, thank you for coming here and sitting on the hot seat and giving a response to everybody that called in.
GR: It was a pleasure.
DW: And maybe we can have you come in again at a time, and maybe we can cover the subject of Waco. And so our people I believe are honestly asking some honest questions, and they want to do what's right in their hearts, and they want to be Americans living under a Constitution and the Bill of Rights as the original Founding Fathers set up this country to do. So God bless everybody, and thank you for joining here at FREEDOM FORUM.
[end of program]
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