On Friday January 15, 2010 the U.S. Department of Justice sent two officers to my residence to interview me about a law enforcement matter. One of the first things they had me do was sign an authorization to conduct a consentual search.
At the end of the interview, the officer began to stand. I said, "Sir, you never did a search. Don't you want to search my apartment?" He said, "I already did a search." He turned his head back and forth, motioning that he had scanned my apartment visually.
Well, damn it, I wanted to be searched. Really searched. I mean, what do we pay taxes for? (Of course, I haven't filed a tax return in 15 years, but that's a different tale). I'm not a big believer in the Fourth Amendment. In fact, I rather like the idea of sharing my private world with law enforcement -- with anybody, in fact.
I said to the officers: "Here, come here, I'll show you my walk-in closet." Call me paranoid, but I picked up the feeling that the lead officer was not enthusiastic about checking out the inner sanctum of my apartment. It was as if he were thinking, "You're wasting our time, buddy."
We walked out of my walk-in closet and I drew the men's attention to my clothes closet. I opened the door to the closet and said, "It's full of junk." In fact, the closet contains, in plain sight, three suitcases. The officers did not inspect the suitcases; they showed no interest in the contents of the suitcases -- or anything in the closet, for that matter.
What does it take to get a real federal law enforcement search in this town?
The Justice Department officers had been keenly interested in what it was that motivated me to write a blog and what it was that I was trying to accomplish with my blog. But as to the truth of the matters published in the blog -- namely, that my supervisor said she feared I might kill her; that I might have been armed and extremely dangerous in 1989; or that the D.C. Court of Appeals had affirmed that my former employer had formed a genuine and credible belief that I was potentially violent -- they showed no concern at all. They showed no concern that I might have a cache of weapons stored in my apartment: a concern that would seem reasonable given my repeated references in this blog to allegations that people feared I might become violent or homicidal.
The context of the officers' statements and behaviors suggested to me that the sole concern of the Justice Department was that someone had found this blog, My Daily Struggles, to be an embarrassment and that the officers had been sent to intimidate me to stop blogging. Now that's a First Amendment issue. While I'm not a big fan of the the Fourth Amendment, I have a deep interest in the right to free expression.