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September 06, 2004

J. Edgar Idiot

Almost a quarter century ago, I wrote letters to the Selective Service System and the Justice Department to inform them that I'd never ever ever register for the draft. I took pains to describe the moral underpinnings of my stance, and made sure that each letter I sent had my current contact information, including my name, address, and phone.

Within months the Justice Department sent my files over to the FBI, with instructions to interview me as soon as possible. The FBI endeavored to contact me in the following manner: ignoring the contact information I provided, they obtained a copy of my birth records, then drove to my parents' address listed therein. It was an apartment my parents rented for a year or so in the waning days of the Eisenhower Administration. No one there twenty years later had any idea who the FBI were asking about.

When they eventually, after thousands of dollars worth of investigative work, tracked me down at the Berkeley address that I'd given them, I asked why they hadn't just, you know, used the address I provided. Their answer? "That's not how we do things."

It seems little has changed at the FBI in the last two decades. My pals Elizabeth and Len were privileged this past week to hear a lecture on terrorism given by an FBI agent, who provided this booklet.

Posted by Chris Clarke at September 6, 2004 07:37 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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