Here's a letter from Special Agent Scott Matthewson to the coordinator the Florida rallies against John Ashcroft: "We recognize, and support, your rights to demonstrate at these facilities. We only ask that you coordinate your planned activities with us to ensure your, as well as our, safety." Does that sound like a subtle threat? Is our safety in danger if we don't "coordinate"? Drop Mr. Matthewson a note to express your views of First Amendment rights - and be sure to cc: the nation's chief law enforcement officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subj: Ashcroft protest
Date: 1/30/2001 10:18:07 AM Eastern Standard Time
Greetings, Ms. Bailey.
It is my understanding that you are the state coordinator for protests planned tomorrow in Florida concerning the Ashcroft nomination.
I am a Special Agent with the Federal Protective Service in Atlanta, GA.
We are tasked with the protection of federal facilities residing within Florida. It has come to our attention that some of your protest activity will be conducted outside some of these facilities.
I wish to discuss these activities with you prior to the events. It has been our experience that coordination of these activities with the groups is of mutual benefit to each of us. We recognize, and support, your rights to demonstrate at these facilities. We only ask that you coordinate your planned activities with us to ensure your, as well as our, safety.
I can be reached at the following numbers:
Thank you for your assistance. I look forward to hearing from you.
SA Scott A. Matthewson
Federal Protective Service