Friday, August 25, 2006

The Waning Days of the Republic? -4

From the NYTimes:

....the Army Corps of Engineers held a meeting in Mr. Bensman’s neighborhood to talk about helping those fish swim around the locks and dams it has constructed on the Mississippi River over the years. There was a PowerPoint presentation on various options. One — clearly not the Corps’s favorite — was to eliminate a dam in East Alton. To illustrate that idea, the presentation included a picture of a dam being dynamited.

Mr. Bensman rose later to support removing the dam. Big mistake.

A local paper reported that Mr. Bensman told the Corps he “would like to see the dam blown up.”

A Corps security officer read the report. He decided that Mr. Bensman was threatening a public facility. He notified the G-men.

An F.B.I. agent then contacted Mr. Bensman, who was surprised to learn that federal investigators believed a terrorist might announce his plans at a public hearing of the Army Corps of Engineers.

When the agent said he wanted to visit his home, it occurred to Mr. Bensman that he needed a lawyer. At that point, Mr. Bensman said, the agent threatened to “put you down as not cooperating.”....