Articles Tagged with FBI

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Hat tip to the 5/11/15,Library Link of the Day:

Librarians Versus the NSA: Your local library is on the front lines against government surveillance,” by Zoë Carpenter May 6, 2015, The Nation, May 25, 2015

“…. Librarians have frequently been involved in the fight against government surveillance. The first librarian to be locked up for defending privacy and intellectual freedom was Zoia Horn, who spent three week in jail in 1972 for refusing to testify against anti–Vietnam War activists. During the Cold War, librarians exposed the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s attempts to recruit library staffers to spy on foreigners, particularly Soviets, through a national effort called the Library Awareness Program….” [Link to full Nation article.]

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I remember getting a tour of the Washington D.C. FBI building way back in the, well, way way back. At the time I actually just needed a comfort station and a tour went along with it, but it was worth it.  If you’re in Washington D.C., and there isn’t a government shutdown, add it to your long list of other excellent places to see in the nation’s capital.
(I don’t know if the FBI tour is still any good (just as you can be darn sure the Hershey Chocolate Factory tour isn’t like the excellent ones we had back in the day when they still gave out free chocolate samples and you could practically peer into the chocolate vats), but maybe the FBI tour is holding its own.  Of course, chocolate bar recipes might be bigger and better secrets than those the FBI covets.)
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If you were ever in doubt that the great mind behind beSpacific had a sense of humor (and you shouldn’t have been – librarians gotta laugh), here’s a link to an October 16, 2007, beSpacific post, “New Website Simplifies Your Access to Your FBI Files.” This will lead you to Get Grandpa’s FBI File and Get My FBI File.

(Maybe I need to follow these leads, hmmmm: Read, The Law Librarian and the FBI, Part One to Part Six.)

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(PARTS ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, AND FIVE)

Book thievery is the one crime of which people do not seem to mind being suspected.” (“Miss Manners Basic Training: The Right Thing to Say,” by Judith Martin, Crown Publishers, 1998, p. 47.)

As the author of “The Book Thief” laments, it is very hard to get law enforcement to care about missing books. Who cares if the books are national treasures, worth more than any single painting in an art museum, the only surviving record of a two-thousand year old culture, or simply a paperback book purchased with public money for the enjoyment of hundreds for the next couple of years? Most law enforcement personnel, from police to prosecutors to judges, even those who are literate and even literary seem to find book theft somewhat more important than the theft of one’s recycling from curbside and somewhat less important than the theft of someone’s front garden pink flamingo. Stolen pink flamingos make the news, but not stolen books, unless there are lots of them and there is someone to blame, usually not the thief. It is one kind of several types of crimes where the victim is deemed more to blame than the thief. (For example, library and book store security system managers often get more of the blame than the thief.)

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(LINK TO PARTS ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, and SIX)(No quote, but you get a limerick, which is even better! See below …)


Months, years passed. I still didn’t have my books and the trail was getting cold. There are times when the path ahead is not clear. Do I “let it go” or do I push ahead? If I take the latter course of action, on what principle do I base my pursuit? If the former course of action is taken, isn’t the question essentially the same? On what principle do I base my inaction, my passivity? It’s not as if librarians are not brave – we are. But we’re generally on the shy side of grandstanding. Librarians can, if provoked, become downright fierce when their books disappear or their patron’s privacy rights are threatened. We can also become obsessed, which isn’t altogether a good or healthy thing; it’s just the way it is and those of you who love your libraries have obsessive librarians to thank for defending the institution. And, for some doggie and librarian comic relief, here is a limerick my sister wrote, not knowing that more than 30 years later I would ask her permission to include it in a blog posting about the law, the FBI, missing books, and of course, shaggy dogs:

Doggone, A Limerick Tale,by Chris Orr (circa 1974)
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The Law Librarian and the FBI: A Shaggy Dog Tale in Six Parts: PART THREE

(PARTS ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE and SIX)

Lucy: That kid in school sure said some mean things about you today. How come you didn’t hit him?

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PART TWO(See PARTS ONE, TWO, THREE, FOURFIVE and SIX)

“Our view is that it takes a special talent to make libraries controversial.” *

Several months on, however, despite all efforts, it appeared that my missing books were going to continue to preoccupy my thoughts. Brandon was out of jail, his lawyers fighting on his behalf, and the lawsuits would work their way through the courts. Brandon didn’t have or couldn’t find my library’s books, and I wasn’t going to press the point; there were more important matters on his mind at the time. I did ask trusted friends if or how I should pursue the return of my books if in fact the FBI had taken them. Attorneys continued to advise me to lay low, stay away, look out because these guys mean business . “People have disappeared,” was said in hushed tones. “Librarians have disappeared?” I wanted to ask, but kept quiet, after all, it was 2004, 2005, and then 2006. These apparently were Years To Keep Quiet, which under normal circumstances would be quite pleasant for a lot of librarians. But now, not so much.