Below is a dictated email from the
Vice-Chair, Ken Ford
Dear Board Members:
I want to thank and acknowledge all of the hard work that David
has done over the years. He will be missed and we wish him well and
As most of you know, the majority of us have been the targets of
a harassing email campaign, threatening letters, and even extortion
phone calls regarding our affiliation with Pacifica.
If you receive any of these notices going forward or have any of
the voicemails, emails or letters, please forward them to me so that
we may hand them over to the FBI. We do have federal protection
under the RICCO/Computer Fraud statutes. Thank you all for being so
dedicated to the mission of Pacifica in the face of adversity.
An Open Letter to Ken Ford; Re: the Federal
Bureau of Investigation
To: Ken Ford, Pacifica Foundation
Re: The Federal Bureau of
June 23, 2001
A message has come to my attention, purporting to come from you,
in which you ask members of the Pacifica Governing Board to send
what they experience as distressing listener e-mails to your
offices. You, if I understand this message correctly, may then
forward these documents to the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI). They may then form the basis of a Racketeering in Corrupt
Organizations (RICO) suit against various Pacifica reform groups or
individuals that you do not like.
Mr. Ford, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to learn
that this e-mail (enclosed below) is a fake and that I am the
gullible victim of a clever Internet hoax. But if the message is
real, I am very alarmed and implore you to reconsider acting on it.
I understand that you do not enjoy being called upon to resign by
thousands of people across the United States. Since I am familiar
with Pacifica, I know that some of these messages may be rude. But
inviting the FBI into this situation puts the organization that you
represent in great danger.
If the Pacifica radio network has a natural predator, it is the
FBI. In the early 1980s Pacifica obtained the network's Freedom of
Information Act FBI files. I urge you to read these documents, which
about six years ago I filed and sorted as volunteer archivist for
the Pacifica National Office Papers. Since the 1950s, the Bureau has
been poking, prodding, invading, infiltrating and harassing this
organization in the most irresponsible and aggressive ways. It has
planted informers within the network, sent agents pretending to be
private citizens to inquire about the organization, and far worse.
In 1962, two staff members at WBAI in New York City interviewed a
former FBI trainee about his experiences at the Bureau, and prepared
to put his comments on the air in late October. After reading
internal Bureau files during this period, I concluded that the FBI
got wind of this program through a highly placed informer at KPFA in
Berkeley (I do not know the identity of this person). Although
Pacifica governing board members offered the FBI equal time to
respond to the trainee's charges, the Bureau opted instead to begin
a reckless campaign of harassment, including visits to staff
members' homes, hostile anonymous phone calls, and threats of a raid
at WBAI if the program was aired.
When WBAI broadcast the program anyway, the Bureau dossiered
everyone of consequence within the Pacifica network, and forwarded
its encyclopedia to the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS)
and Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The SISS used the
materials to subpoena and grill about 8 members of the National
Board in hearings in Washington, D.C., then released transcripts of
the hearings to a hostile press. The FCC, under the guidance of a
former FBI agent who now served as a Commissioner, withheld
Pacifica's licenses and demanded loyalty oaths. Even after the
network survived this ordeal, which it did barely, the FBI continued
to worm its way into and around the organization.
Do you imagine that Pacifica no longer broadcasts programming
that displeases the FBI? Quite the contrary; in fact, some of
Pacifica's most prominent programmers have, very recently, published
books exposing the FBI's unethical activities. Through the 1970s,
1980s and to varying degrees still, the organization functions as a
clearing house for the conclusions of every radical investigative
journalist in the country.
Surely the FBI hates Pacifica radio. Do you really believe that
if you invite the Bureau into the internal life of Pacifica, its
operatives will narrowly adhere to the tasks you set before them,
and meekly depart from the scene upon your command? This is the FBI,
I remind you, that recently withheld information about the Timothy
McVeigh case and put Wen Ho Lee in solitary confinement for a year.
This week the newspapers report on an FBI operative who allegedly
sold information to organized crime for tens of thousands of
"Unmanageable, unaccountable and unreliable," a United States
Senator called the FBI on Thursday during a Congressional hearing
about the Bureau. If you actually plan to bring the FBI to this
situation, do you think that it will remain under your control? Up
until this month you were toying with a small but precious radio
network; at that point you will be playing with fire.
The question is, do you care? Mr. Ford, I don't know you. I do
know that if you do not publicly repudiate this extremely
ill-advised recourse, it is only further evidence of your lack of
qualifications to have anything to do with the governance of this
In any event, if the FBI calls me for any reason regarding this
matter, I will heed the advice that Lewis Hill gave to KPFA's
listeners regarding the Bureau's activities in 1949, a year when it
was extremely dangerous to give such counsel: "The FBI is a
contemptible institution and the whole country knows it," the
founder of Pacifica radio declared. " . . . Refuse to cooperate.
Say, No. Say, I for my part will not."
Very truly yours,