FBI BUGS MAYOR

NYT reports a rather odd story:

Philadelphia and federal officials said on Wednesday that a listening device found in Mayor John F. Street’s office in City Hall had been planted by F.B.I. agents in an investigation.

Mr. Street, a first-term Democrat, is locked in a bitter race for re-election with a Republican businessman, Sam Katz, and the discovery of one or more bugs in the office on Tuesday morning further roiled the race.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States attorney’s office in Philadelphia have declined to explain the purpose or target of the inquiry other than to say it was not related to the contest for mayor.

Going on the offensive, Mr. Street’s campaign said federal investigators might have planted the device as part of a conspiracy by the Bush administration to undermine the mayor’s integrity a month from the election.

“We are openly speculating and questioning the timing of this discovery with the backdrop of the next presidential election,” a spokesman for the campaign, Frank Keel, said, “and quite frankly wondering aloud could the Republican Party of George Bush, John Ashcroft, etc., have engineered an incident like this that would cast some doubt and questions on the current Democratic mayor at a critical time in the election.

Hmm. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time there was corruption in a mayor’s office, let alone in Philly. And wiretaps and other secret investigations are sometimes necessary in gathering evidence for white collar crime. But it’s a rather sordid process nonetheless.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Paul says:

    “We are openly speculating and questioning the timing of this discovery with the backdrop of the next presidential election,” a spokesman for the campaign,

    Well, well… Let’s see….

    The bug was found during a routine sweep by the local police done at the request of the MAYOR’S OFFICE!

    How the hell did Bush time the discovery?

    Second, the mayor has already been involved in multiple federal investigations before this, stemming from contracts he signed.

    One of the contracts is a million dollar a year deal that went out with no and bid and was given to the Mayor’s brother.

    Naw- The Feds had no reason to investigate.

    But I see they used the typical Dem defense…

    “Bush is the Devil”

    P

    and they get brownie points for the “Ashcroft is the devil” too. If they just mention Paul Wolfowitz or use the word “neo-con” they get the liberal whackjob conspiracy threefer.

  2. Yeah, I am just waiting for all the finger pointing and shouting at Ashcroft or whomever until it is announced that some federal judge appointed by Clinton signed off on the tap.