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“The Feds are not scared of ‘Guys Like You'”

Audience member to White Knight bugged.com Mike Peros

White Knight Mike Peros steps up to tell us about illegal wiretap operations. He is, as it happens, an electronic countermeasure specialist and has run across a lot of illegal wiretapping. One September, a few years back, he got a call to sweep a facility in the lounge of a bank. This he did on Sunday, September 6th, and found a transmitting device on a payphone, which is illegal because you can’t “minimize” it. [Brief digression-legal wiretaps must be “minimized”-that is law enforcement can’t listen in to or tape conversations that are not related to the criminal investigation at hand.] Our hero Mike Peros bugged.com had driven about 20 miles when he began to hear sirens. He stopped for gasoline and was suddenly surrounded by 8 cop cars, with police yelling in his face that they wanted their bug back, and threatening to arrest him. Among the jurisdictions involved-Tampa PD, the IRS, and the DEA. WK was more than willing to be arrested and to give his story, with a court reporter present. The cops said they didn’t want the media involved and he said “Why? Illegal wiretap?” At this point the cops started hemming and hawing and looking down at their feet-definite “guilty” body language. They cited WK Mike Peros bugged.com anyway, because they had to have a reason to search his van to get the illegal bug back. Apparently this wiretap was part of an investigation into the Key Bank, in Florida, which in turn was a part of the BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International) investigation. WK Mike Peros tells us that the investigation of Key Bank was politically motivated, and that despite 65,000 instances of illegal taps in the case the only criminal activity turned up (besides of course the illegal taps) was that someone made a cash deposit without filling out the appropriate IRS form. WK bugged.com shows us the wiretap reporting for the Key Bank bug sweep case. There is no prosecutor’s report-this is a violation of the law. WK tells us that Hillsborough County, Florida, seems to have more illegal wiretaps than anywhere else in the country.

When WK Mike Peros bugged.com went to investigate this case in more detail, he found that the State Attorney’s office had to be sued to release the supposedly “public” records relating to the case. In them he found: * the warrant for this wiretap was never signed * the docket number was altered * no warrant in the entire case was dated by the judge. The point of all this? Even though there are strict laws governing wiretaps, law enforcement and government do not follow these laws, and are not accountable. The documents show that the warrant for the bug he discovered was applied for on September 11, 5 days after he was cited with the traffic ticket mentioned above-thus, the bug was certainly in place before a warrant was ever applied for. More interesting perhaps is that the date on the bug application is one month after the date on the following docket number. This seems to be further evidence that the bug warrant was obtained after the bug was found and slipped into the normal run of dockets by (rather amateurish, it would seem) falsifications of the docket number. It should be mentioned that altering a federal document is a felony. Mailing an altered federal document, as law enforcement did, in this case, in response to WK’s allegations, is mail fraud. WK Mike Peros bugged.com filed a complaint with the Governor’s office-this however was never investigated. He filed a criminal complaint with Congress, the Treasury Department (“overseers” of the ATF), and other appropriate federal agencies. Congress referred him to the FBI Field Office in Tampa. This however turned out to be a dead end, as the FBI agent assigned to the case personally knew all the “defendants”, and, as we all know, all cops stick together. In fact the FBI agent tried to interrogate WK. As it happens WK Mike Peros bugged.com let him have it with both barrels, telling the agent that he was tampering with a witness for Congress, and could be incarcerated for his actions. At this point WK wrote a letter to Louis Freeh (director of the FBI) outlining the situation. Mr. Freeh’s response? That the wiretaps were fully adjudicated and the defendants were dismissed; further investigation would not be in the public interest. Uh huh. WK next wrote a letter to Senator Grassley to file a complaint on Louis Freeh. This received no response. So basically he went as far as he could, and no one in government was the least bit interested in following up these allegations. it.

WK estimates the extent of these activities as being 181 days of illegal wiretaps, on a bank, with no minimizing-think about that, law enforcement could listen in to find out your bank balance, and any financial transactions you might make, whether or not you were under investigation for this case. Thirty-eight cops were involved from US Customs, DEA, IRS, and the Sherriff’s Departments of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, among other jurisdictions. Total cost of this “exercise in fascism” is estimated at $181,547. Corruption, including a cover up, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice seems to involve not only the law enforcement agents mentioned above but also the Florida State Attorney, Assistant State Attorneys, the Judge presiding over this case, and indeed probably goes all the way up to Louis Freeh. In closing, since the US Government was not willing to hold a trial in this matter, White Knight asks us to serve as a jury, trying the law enforcement agents, and Louis Freeh, based on the evidence he has presented. The audience finds all law enforcement involved guilty on all counts. Oh, and just an amusing afterthought-WK’s traffic ticket was dismissed.