Know Your Rights
from No Compromise Issue 5
 
  1. You do not have to talk to FBI agents, police or other investigators. You do not have to talk to them in your house, on the street, if you've been arrested or even in jail. Only a court or grand jury has legal authority to compel testimony.
  2. You don't have to let the FBI or police into your house or office unless they show you an arrest or search warrant which authorizes them to enter that specific place.
  3. If they do present a warrant, you do not have to tell them anything other than your name and address. You have a right to observe what they do. Make written notes, including the agents' names, agency and badge numbers. Try to have other people present as witnesses and have them make written notes too. [ed. note: by observing them and writing down everything they touch and do, it helps prevent them from planting incriminating evidence.]
  4. Anything you say to an FBI agent or other law enforcement officer may be used against you or other people.
  5. Giving the FBI or police information may mean that you will have to testify to the same information at a trial or before a grand jury.
  6. Lying to an FBI agent or other federal investigator is a crime.
  7. The best advice, if the FBI or police try to question you or to enter your home or office without a warrant, is to JUST SAY NO. FBI agents have a job to do and they are highly skilled at it. Attempting to outwit them is very risky. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information can help them hurt you or someone else.
  8. The FBI or police may threaten you with a grand jury subpoena if you don't give them information. But you may get one anyway, and anything you've already told them will be the basis for more detailed questioning under oath.
  9. They may try to threaten or intimidate you by pretending to have information about you: "We know what you have been doing, but if you cooperate it will be all right." [ed. note: if they had the evidence against you, they wouldn't want to talk with you, they would just arrest you. However, by talking to them, you would open yourself up to giving them incriminating information about you or others.]
  10. If you are nervous about simply refusing to talk, you may find it easier to tell them to contact your lawyer. Once a lawyer is involved, the FBI and police usually pull back since they have lost their power to intimidate.

The above suggestions are reprinted from the book War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It by Brain Glick, published by South End Press, 116 Saint Botolph St., Boston, MA 02115.