A BB reader says: "FBI tries to convince man to infiltrate vegan potluck events to look for terrorists in Minneapolis/St. Paul, site for the 2008 Republican National Committee Convention this summer."
[University of Minnesota sophomore Paul] Carroll, who requested that his real name not be used, showed up early and waited anxiously for [U of M Police Sgt. Erik] Swanson's arrival. Ten minutes later, he says, a casually dressed Swanson showed up, flanked by a woman whom he introduced as FBI Special Agent Maureen E. Mazzola. For the next 20 minutes, Mazzola would do most of the talking.
"She told me that I had the perfect 'look,'" recalls Carroll. "And that I had the perfect personality–they kept saying I was friendly and personable–for what they were looking for."
What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an informant–someone to show up at "vegan potlucks" throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, then reporting back to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The effort's primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division's website, is to "investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines."
Carroll would be compensated for his efforts, but only if his involvement yielded an arrest. No exact dollar figure was offered.
"I'll pass," said Carroll.