Saturday, February 27, 2010

Report on my Brian Baird/FBI FOIA Request.


You learn a lot about things in the Administration by interacting with it's Agencies.

On December 3, I requested a copy of all death threat investigations against Congressman Brian Baird. The mandated turn-around time for that request is, under federal law, 20 days.

I received the investigation yesterday via fax, although they indicated they had sent it to me on January 29.

Once I called them (again) and asked them about it, they actually faxed the completed, moderately redacted report to me that day, for which I am grateful. (11 pages total)

The upshot of the report is this:

On August 13, 2009, Capitol Police notified the FBI that on August 11, at 2124, a "threatening message" was left on the voice mail of Baird's Washington, DC, office.

The message, by it's nature, included the originating number of the phone call. Further identification was provided by the caller, who IDENTIFIED HIMSELF.

The message, a quoted in the report, is this:
"Brian, [REDACTED] here. You think we're all Timothy McVey[sic] types, huh? I'd keep a close eye out for those Ryder rental trucks if I were you. You never know when one might show up. Bye."

The call originated from Wichita, Kansas.

The next day (August 14) an Special Agent of the FBI and someone referred to as a "TFO" attempted to interview the self-named individual, but missed him at his residence. A few minutes after leaving his residence, the "TFO" received a phone call from the subject on what was identified as the subject's cell phone.

What transpired next, quoted verbatim from the report:
[REDACTED] advised [REDACTED] that indeed he did place the phone call to Congressman Baird, but he certainly did not intend this call to gain the attention that it obviously did. [REDACTED] advised the number [REDACTED] was his DSL computer line, which can be accessed and used as a telephone. [REDACTED] advised after observing Congressman Baird in a television interview the night of 8-11-2009, where he stated the people opposing Obama's Health Care Bill were reminiscent of Timothy McVeigh. [REDACTED] became upset and verified by calling Baird's telephone number.

[REDACTED] advised he left Congressman Baird a message stating that if he was going to consider the opposition, which included [REDACTED] to be McVeigh type[sic], then he better be watching out for the Ryder trucks. [REDACTED] advised in no way did he intend to cause any problems, and certainly he was not going to go out and rent a Ryder truck and do harm, nor did he now anyone who would. [REDACTED] advised he was venting his frustration and utilized his freedom of speech and certainly was not a terrorist. [REDACTED] advised he has worked for [REDACTED] Wichita for [REDACTED] years and was not a trouble maker. He advised he was so sorry if he had caused the FBI to spend any amount of time or money to track him down in response to his phone call.

[REDACTED] also advised that just last night, he also called a Georgia Senator in response to calling people "Racist" just because they opposed Obama. [REDACTED] was advised that many people share his emotions and feelings, but there are better ways to express them. [REDACTED] agreed, and again apologized.

TFO [REDACTED] and SA [REDACTED] terminated the phone interview, satisfied that [REDACTED] posed no threat to conduct any acts of terrorism. [REDACTED] considers the investigation closed due to [REDACTED] lack of any past criminal activity other than several local speeding violations, as well as his admitting the phone call was his way of venting frustration."

Created 2009-08-14 19:07:44

Incident close request sent 2009-08-14 19:59:46.0
This is the report without further comment. I am going to review the timing of the report and threat, used in part as a justification to avoid holding a town hall meeting. But one thing is clear: less than 72 hours after making the report, Baird knew it lacked substance and stood as no possible source of harm for him.

There was no mention of a "faxed death threat" provided by the FBI, under the auspices of my search request, Subject "BAIRD, BRIAN/ALLEGED DEATH THREAT."

1 comment:

Lew Waters said...

Interesting in that it was November 10 when the Columbian ran the article on the FBI investigating the threat and the next day publishing the threat was not serious.

If I recall correctly, Lou Brancaccio stated they had been calling the Capitol Police often in the time between the first reports of an alleged death threat and the November 10 article.