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.