TO YOUR CONCERNS
FBI Interviews at Special Events
gotten a fair amount of coverage lately about our actions, past and future,
at this summer’s political conventions in Boston and New York. In
fact, we’ve been part of security at special events like these for
many many years—our Special Event Management Program was approved
in 1978, and we participated in our first “special event” at
the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
years we’ve been part of the security team at Olympics, at Super
Bowls, at conventions and high profile meetings, you name it—anywhere
a lot of damage could be unleashed by just one or a few violent extremists.
And we really take pride in the fact that our work at these events—both
at home and abroad--has prevented violence, prevented acts of terrorism,
and kept people safe.
same time, we have always followed the rules, sensitive to Americans’ constitutional
rights to free speech and assembly, always drawing the line between lawfully
protected speech and illegal activity. It’s an understandably controversial
area, though, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to answer
a few specific questions we’ve been asked.
Who is the FBI interviewing?
A: First of all, we are NOT interviewing “protestors”—rather,
we conduct very limited interviews of individuals when
we receive specific intelligence that they are either
planning to conduct violent illegal activity or are aware
of a plan to conduct such activity.
Does the FBI have the right to conduct interviews before any large-scale
protest that has the potential of violence?
A: Again, only when we receive specific
intelligence that concerns incidents that violate federal
criminal laws. The FBI stays focused on the threat of
What sort of violence are you concerned about?
A: We are concerned about large-volume
water guns (Super-Soakers) filled with ammonia, bleach
or urine; projectiles such as rocks and bottles; incendiary
devices such as Molotov cocktails and pyrotechnics; and
even improvised explosive devices such as pipe bombs.
For example, at the November 2003 protests at the Free
Trade of America conference in Miami, police were attacked
with marbles and bolts launched from sling shots and
wrist rockets, with rocks, with sticks embedded with
razor blades and nails, and with bleach and urine.
always, it is our obligation to respond to credible threats of violence,
and we intend—we vow--to protect Americans and all people from
the violent acts of extremists.