Computer underground Digest    Wed Nov 11, 1992   Volume 4 : Issue 57

       Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
       Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
       Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
                          Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
       Coyp Editor: Etaion Shrdlu, Junior

CONTENTS, #4.57 (Nov 11, 1992)
File 1--2600 Meeting Disrupted by Secret Service?
FIle 2--2600 Meeting Disrupted by Law Enforcement
FIle 3--Reports Of "Raid" On 2600 Washington Meeting
FIle 4--More first-hand Accounts
FIle 5--Confusion About Secret Service Role In "2600 Washington Raid"
FIle 6--Conflicting Stories In 2600 Raid; CPSR Files FOIA
FIle 7--Transcript from Al Johnson Interview

Date: Wed 11 Nov 1992 18:23:55
From: Moderators
Subject: File 1--2600 Meeting Disrupted by Secret Service?

On Friday, November 6, the Washington, D.C. 2600 meeting took place at the Pentagon City Mall, but was broken up by mall security police. There is preliminary evidence that the disruption may have involved the United States Secret Service. If the USSS was involved in using private security forces to disrupt civilians, their action appears to not only exceed its mandate, but to be blatantly illegal. The followings posts describe the details, but the basic facts are these:

1. The Mall's private security police appeared to engage in a well-organized and well-coordinated sweep of those participating in the meeting. Although there are restrictions that may limit gatherings on mall property, there was no apparent indication that the sweep was prompted by such restrictions.

2. The Mall's head of security, Al Johnson (703-415-3410) claimed that the FBI and USSS "ramrodded" the operation. Although he has since denied making the claim, his comments were recorded by Brock Meeks, a reporter for CommDaily. Meeks subsequently called both the FBI and Secret Service. The FBI denied any participation. Meeks' report of the USSS response suggests they were present at the time. We have read a transcript of Al Johnson's response to Meeks, and Johnson explicitly and unequivocally states that he considered it a USSS operation and that as far as he's concerned, the mall police are "out of it," and he referred Meeks to the USSS (See transcript in file #7).

3. Either Al Johnson is lying or Meeks fabricated the tape. Meeks is a highly respected journalist known for accuracy and credibility. His integrity has never been questioned, and we find it incomprehensible that he fabricated the tape. It seems more likely that Johnson either glibly named external agencies to cover up the actions of security forces or that he initially spoke the truth then realized (or was told) that he should not indicate external involvement. The USSS's response, which appears to make them complicit in, if not initiaters of, the action, indicates, as John McMullen's final article reveals, that they were fully aware of the incident.

4. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) has filed a Freedom of Information request with the USSS in an attempt to obtain further information of USSS involvement.

If, in fact, the USSS was involved, it reflects an outrageous and totally unacceptable abuse of authority and power. If they were involved, it indicates that they have learned little from the Operation Sun Devil abuses and that it is time to curtail their power. If they were involved, their actions represent a direct challenge to Constitutional principles of freedom of speech and assembly.

If those attending the 2600 meeting violated mall policies against assembly that limit the size and nature of public gatherings, it is fully legitimate for mall security personnel to intervene. However, if the intervention was a premediated action in which the USSS participated, then the forces designated to protect the Constitution have over-stepped their bounds and threaten once again to subvert the principles they are sworn to protect.

This is not simply a cyberspace issue. If the USSS was involved, it raises the issue of the relationship between government police actions and the Constitutional freedoms that ostensibly protect us against unwarranted control of basic rights. It is an issue that should be of concern to everyone. Slippery slopes are highly dangerous terrain.

The following posts provide additional details. The Newsbytes pieces are reproduced here with permission.

Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1992 08:52:13 -0500
Subject: File 2--2600 Meeting Disrupted by Law Enforcement

On Friday, November 6th, the 2600 meeting in Washington DC was disrupted by assorted law enforcement people. Details are still coming in at this point but there are some details that have been corroborated by a number of people. This is what we know: Shortly after the gathering commenced at the Pentagon City Mall, the 30 or so people who were there were surrounded by mall security who demanded that everyone consent to searches. They were told that if they refused to be searched, they'd be arrested. Everyone's bags were gone through and lots of personal property was confiscated including notebooks, school work, various tools, a computer keyboard, and many other items. The security guards were in radio contact with others on a balcony who had been watching the group. One of the attendees was detained by security who would neither arrest him nor let him go. After about 10 minutes, he was released. Some property was returned but much was not. No receipts were given and, at one point, the security guards denied having anything at all. They then said that if they did have anything, the attendees would have to return the next week with proof of ownership. The mall police were later joined by local Virginia police, who told the group they would be arrested if they didn't leave the mall immediately. In addition to searching everybody, the police took down the names of everyone present.

At this point it doesn't look as if there was anything illegal going on or anything illegal in anyone's possession. It also should be noted that the mall police said they were acting on behalf of the Secret Service. The local police would only say they were gathering information for an "outside party".

The following is from Bob Stratton, one of our people on the scene:

I hope that someone like Inhuman might be able to fill in the details, but just as a brief...

I showed up late to the 2600 meeting in DC tonight, and I found everyone outside on the sidewalk instead of in the food court of the normal meeting place. Evidently they were hassled severely by the mall security officers, who took ID, confiscated all manner of property, tore up the list of officers' names being compiled by one attendee, and threatened to confiscate a camera being used by one attendee to record the whole fiasco.

The real police were called, and evidently made but a cursory appearance, though some comment about working with the Secret Service was made. The worst thing is that the private security officers who took property later denied it, and people are now in a quandary as to the best mechanism for recovery of their property.

I was fortunate enough to have missed the worst of it, though I do regret that I wasn't there earlier if only to tell the rent-a-cops what I thought of them, and my knowledge of my rights.

I know that several of the attendees called up to New York, to Emmanuel Goldstein, and I'm interested in hearing his take on things.

Film at 11.


Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1992 09:17:34
Subject: File 3--Reports Of "Raid" On 2600 Washington Meeting

((The following will appear on Newsbytes tomorrow. Newsbytes is a commercial copyrighted service and this article is posted with the express permission of the author (reposting is prohibited)))

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1992 NOV 7 (NB) -- Eric Corley, a/k/a "Emmanuel Goldstein", editor and publisher of 2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly has told Newsbytes that the Friday, November November 6th 2600 meeting held in the Pentagon City Mall, outside of Washington, DC. was disrupted by threats of arrest by mall security officers and Arlington, VA police.

2600 Magazine promotes monthly meetings of hackers, press and other interested parties throughout the country. The meetings are held in public locations on the first Friday evening of the month and the groups often contact each other by telephone during the meetings. Corley told Newsbytes that meetings were held that evening in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Cambridge, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Corley said "While I am sure that meetings have been observed by law enforcement agencies, this is the only time that we have been harassed. It is definitely a freedom of speech issue."

According to Craig Neidorf, who was present at the meeting handing out applications for Computer Professionals For Social Responsibility (CPSR), "I saw the security officers focusing on us. Then they started to come toward us from a number of directions under what seemed to be the direction of a person with a walkie-talkie on a balcony. When they approached, I left the group and observed the security personnel encircling the group of about 30 gatherers. The group was mainly composed of high school and college students. The guards demanded to search the knapsacks and bags of the gatherers. They confiscated material, including CPSR applications, a copy of Mondo 2000 (a magazine) and other material. They also confiscated film from a person trying to take pictures of the guards and, when a hacker called "HackRat" attempted to copy down the names of the guards, they took his pencil and paper."

Neidorf continued, "I left to go outside and rejoined the group when they were ejected from the mall. The guards continued challenging the group and told them that they would be arrested if they returned. When one of the people began to take pictures of the guards, the apparent supervisor became excited and threatening but did not confiscate the film."

Neidorf also said "I think that the raid was planned. They hit right about 6:00 and they identified our group as "hackers" and said that they knew that this group met every month."

Neidorf's story was supported by a Washington "hacker" called "Inhuman", who told Newsbytes "I arrived at the meeting late and saw the group being detained by the guards. I walked along with the group as they were being ushered out and when I asked a person who seemed to be in authority his name, he pointed at a badge with his name written in script on it. I couldn't make out the name and, when I mentioned that to the person, he said 'If you can't read it, too bad.' I did read his name, 'C. Thomas', from another badge."

Inhuman also told Newsbytes that, while he did not hear it said, he was told by a number of people that the guards said that they were 'acting on behalf of the Secret Service. "I was also told that there were two police officers there from the Arlington County Police present but I did not see them."

Another attendee, Doug Luce posted an account of his on an NY BBS and gave Newsbytes permission to quote Luce wrote "I also got to the DC meeting very late; 7:45 or so. It seemed like a coordinated harassment episode, not geared toward busting anyone, but designed to get people riled up, and maybe not come back to the mall. A couple of the things I overheard: someone had brought a keyboard to sell, and the cops had harassed him about it, saying 'You aren't selling anything in my mall without a vendors permit!' Blaize (another attendee) says that maybe his handcuffing Hack Rat might have set the cops off; or maybe it was the Whisper 2000 that the cops were convinced was a stun gun. The word is that there was stuff taken and not given back, wires and soldering tools. There is also the rumor that the cops were going through everyone's bags and belongings, and that some people were detained. While the thrust of the effort seemed to be mall security, there are conflicting reports about supporting personnel. Some people said that the SS (Secret Service) might have been there, others thought the FBI or plainclothes city officers were assisting (or coordinating). Supposedly, several of them had removed their name tags before moving in."

Luce's reference to possible Secret Service involvement was supported by a 19 year-old college student known as the "Lithium Bandit", who told Newsbytes "I got to the mall about 6:15 and saw the group being detained by approximately 5 Arlington County police and 5 security guards. When I walked over to see what was going on, a security guard asked me for an ID and I refused to show it saying that I was about to leave. The guard said that I couldn't leave and told me that I had to see a police officer. When I did, the officer demanded ID and, when I once again refused, informed me that I could be detained for up to 10 hours for refusing to produce identification. I gave in and produced my school ID which the police gave to the security people who copied down my name and social security number."

Lithium Bandit continued "When I asked the police what was behind this action, I was told that they couldn't answer but that "the Secret Service is involved and we are within our rights doing this. I and some others later went to the Arlington police station to attempt to get more information. I was told only that there was a report of the use of a stolen credit card and 2 officers sent to investigate -- they later admitted that it was 5. While I was detained, I heard no mention of a credit card and there was no one arrested."

Marc Rotenberg, director of CPSR's Washington office, told Newsbytes "I have really no details on the incident yet but I am very concerned about the reports and confiscation of CPSR applications, if true, is outrageous. I will find out more facts on Monday.

Newsbytes was told by the Pentagon City Mall office that any information concerning the action would have to come from the director of security, Al Johnson, who will not be available until Monday. The Arlington Country Police referred Newsbytes to a "press briefing recording" which had not been updated since the morning before the incident.

Corley told Newsbytes "there have been no reports of misbehavior by any of these people. They were obviously singled out because they were hackers. It's as if they were being singled out as an ethnic group. I admire the way the group responded -- in a courteous fashion but it is inexcusable that it happened. I will be at the next Washington meeting to insure that it doesn't happen again."

The manager of one of New York state's largest malls provided background information to Newsbytes on the rights of malls to police those on mall property, saying "The primary purpose of a mall is to sell. The interior of the mall is private property and is subject to the regulations of the mall. The only requirement is that the regulations be enforced in an even-handed manner. I do not allow political activities in my mall so I could not make an exception for Democrats. We do allow community groups to meet but they must request space at least two weeks before the meeting and must have proper insurance. Our regulations also say that groups of more than 4 may not congregate in the mall. We would ask groups larger than that to disperse. We would also ask for identification from those who violate our regulations so that we may bar them from the mall for a period of 6 months."

She added "Some people feel that mall atriums and food courts are public space. They are not and the industry is united on this. If the malls were to receive tax benefits for the common space and public service in snow removal and the like, it could possibly be a public area but malls are taxed on the entire space and are totally private property, subject to their own regulations. If a group of 20 or more congregated in my mall, they would be asked to leave."

Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1992 08:52:13 -0500
Subject: File 4--More first-hand Accounts

((MODERATORS NOTE: The following first-hand accounts were collected by Emmanuel Goldstein, editor of 2600)).


This is my personal statement as to exactly what happened during the DC 2600 raid on Friday, November 7th 1992. Granted I cannot remember the exact dialogue that was exchanged, I will get the general meaning of everything said and done, by both parties.

I arrived at the 2600 meeting, with Loki, at approximately 4:30pm. We headed towards the food court after looking throughout a few electronics stores in interest to grab a bite to eat. After eating, we proceeded to the fourth floor, to scope out on everything before the meeting actually started. On the way up to the fourth floor, we ran into Tomellicas. We consulted for a few minutes, and then all went up to the fourth floor. We continued to hang out on the fourth floor, and then we saw Albatross back down on the first floor, so we hollered on got his attention, then proceeded back up to the fourth floor. Shortly after, Psionic Nemesis arrived on the scene. We continued to hang out, then proceeded back to the first floor.

After arriving down on the first floor, we moved tables together, rearranged the seating layout, then proceeded with the meeting. Knight Lightning arrived a little before 6:00 and handed out some literature, along with a kooky little button. People slowly arrived, and the meeting was underway.

At this point, the fed scene started to pick up drastically. Tomellicas was snapping pictures of every single fed (or what appeared to be) there. After chatting for awhile longer, Techno Caster, Hack Rat, and a few others arrived (maybe not in that order). Hack Rat came over to my table, or part of the table, where I slapped my handcuffs that I had brought on him. At this time, Techno Caster had showed his Whisper 2000 to Metal Head. Immediately there after, several members of the Mall Security task force surrounded the area, demanding to see the 'stun gun'. Naturally denying everything about a stun gun, the hostility grew. Finally one of the guards saw what they thought was the stun gun, and pointed at the Whisper 2000, which was in the hands of (I think) Metal Head. Metal Head told the officers "This? This is *the* Whisper 2000!", the guard examined it, questioned what we had it for, and basically just pestered us some more.

One of the guards (who seemed to be the leader at this point) came over across the table from me, and was looking at the stuff on the center of the table, in front of Loki and myself. Then, over his walkie-talkie, I heard them say something about handcuffs. Without hesitating, the guard said "Who has the handcuffs?", I then said "I do." At this point the guard was examining my handcuffs, and questioned me as to why I had them. Basically telling him just because I felt like it, did nothing but aggravate him, and the situation. He then asked me to produce identification. I asked as to why and the discussion went on for about sixty seconds, when I just decided to give him my ID because I was just plain sick of this ignorant discussion. He copied everything down from it, and asked me what my name was. I simply asked him if he was having trouble reading it, and he sneered at me. At this point, the rest of the guards started taking identification from others. The guard who had took my ID had asked Loki, sitting right across one side of the table from me, to see the contents of his backpack. Loki declined, and the guard asked again. The guard switched topics, and asked Loki to produce identification. Loki then handed him about 4 different forms of ID, the only thing he was missing was a birth certificate. The guard asked to see the contents of his bag, and once again Loki declined. The argument went back and forth for another minute or two, when Loki boldly exclaimed "You cannot search my bag, but I will show you what is in it." Loki proceeded to show him everything in the bag at this point. After pulling a few things that looked very suspicious to the guard out of his bag (read: after pulling a few soldered connections, a bundle of phone cable, and a couple of electronic devices out of his bag...). At this time, I turned to my left to see a rather large guy wearing a nice suit who appeared to be taking over the command of the rent-a-cops. I immediately asked him his name, or two see some form of identification after he was doing the same to other people at the meeting. He flat out said "No.". So I just sighed at the entire ignorance of the man. Tomellicas quickly snapped a few pictures of him, and other guards there who wouldn't identify themselves. The guard literally took the film out of Tomellicas's camera at this point. Hack Rat had proceeded to make a list of the guards names who were involved. After the guards noticed this, they took the list Hack Rat had compiled, and ripped it up, keeping the shreds. At this point, on the other side of my table, I watched Loki zipping his bag back up after having a few things taken out of it. The big guy in the suit came and studied the stuff that had been taken out of his bag and asked Loki what he was doing with it. After exchanging words for about 2 minutes, the big guy proceeded to research Loki's bag. Noted that Loki gave no permission for the guy to search it, he just plain started going through it. At this point I wanted my handcuffs back, and I was out of there. I couldn't handle this sort of police harassment and basic bullshit. I told the guard I wanted my handcuffs back, and he refused. I asked for a receipt, and he refused. I said "I'm leaving, I have better things to do than to be harassed by a buncha rent-a-cops." he proceeded to say "Sit back down.". At this point I just figured I might as well do whatever they wanted so I could just go home and see the Bulls game.

This irrelevant search continued to go on for roughly a little less than two hours. None of the guards would give us any reason for why we were being detained, or why we were being searched. After sitting there for roughly two hours, we were all starting to get a little (lot) uptight about the whole situation and starting demanding we know why we were being held there and searched. One of the guards said that he thought we had a stun gun and that's why we were being searched. I made it really clear to him that (a) stun guns are not illegal in the state of virginia, and (b) after we showed him what he (they) saw, and he saw that it was hardly a stun gun, but an amplified sound device for deaf people, that he had no right to search us any further, let alone everyone there.

Denying that these laws were infact true, he told me to shut up. Laughing at his idiocy, I just sat there, preparing for hari-kari. Finally, after about another thirty minutes of bullshit, we were told to leave the mall immediately. Not understanding why, myself and others questioned him as to why we were being detained, searched, and kicked out. He gave no reason, except to say that this was private property, and that if we did not leave, we would be arrested, by the one Arlington County cop now on the scene. Just wanting to go see the Bulls game, I proceeded to leave, with Hack Rat, Tomellicas, and someone else who I forgot was at this time. We left the scene, and proceeded to Crystal City Underground, where we met up with Techno Caster and a couple others discussing the torment we had all just experienced.

Let alone the embarrassment of all the people watching us over the balcony.

Saturday, November 7th, 1992. Hack Rat and I thought it would be wise to contact the Pentagon Mall Security office on three-way. I called information, obtained the number (703/415-3410). I called the number and a lady picked up on the other end. I told her that I would like to speak with whoever was in charge, or present at the raid in the food court last night. She told me that nobody was there, they were either sick, or not working today. I told her "Out of the roughly 8 people there last night, they are all sick? That's bullshit. I want to speak with someone who was there last night, or I want all of the officers names, and the name of the person in charge." She told me I'd have to call back in 30 minutes. I wait.

Thirty minutes later, Hack Rat and I call back. The same lady answers and I ask to speak to someone present, or the man in charge of the food court raid last night. She said please hold. I was transfered somewhere. A man picked up the phone, this voice was very familiar, and I could easily match it with the guy who took my handcuffs from me, the one who told me to shut up. I asked him what his name was, and the names of everyone there, and of whoever was in charge. He said that he was not allowed to give that information out. After dealing with the idiocy for another 5 minutes, tension grew along with the hostility.

After a little more social engineering, I was able to bs a name out of him. Al Johnson, who was supposedly the head of security.

After this, I called up Loki. We called Fenris Wolf on three way. Fenris told us that one of his parental units called the mall security office to find that Loki's bag had been 'turned over to federal authorities'.

Loki, never given a receipt for his bag, even after asking, was extremely pissed at this point.

The Mad Hatter


dead cow #16 @1 [imic]

Sun Nov 08 15:21:42 1992

here's my story, as i witnessed it.

i was coming down the escalator when i noticed that there were a bunch of people standing around and all these cops in the center. so i rushed up to the center and asked the cops what was going on. the cop said "i have nothing to say to you" so i asked who i could talk to. he said that nobody had anything to say, that no one would talk to me. then i was questioned about my relation to this group. i denied any relation. i was then asked to leave, at which point i moved over to a group of 2600 people standing at a distance observing. i attempted to ask them what was going on, but at that point the mall cop wearing a bike outfit (what was with that guy?) asked us to leave. i walked most of the way to the door then stopped to remove my camera from my bag, meanwhile asking if i could stay long enough to use the bathroom. they told me that i had to use the metro bathroom. i said that i didn't think there was one. they said yes, ask the attendant. i then got my camera out and asked if i could take a picture. the guard said, in a threatening voice, that if i took his pic he would take my film. i put the camera in my pocket. i had a couple of old motherboards in my hands, they asked me what they were, i said they were old motherboards, they asked each other if (some guy who's name i didn't catch) would be interested in these. i said they could have them if they wanted, they were worth about $2. they said, no, they weren't gonna take them, just leave. i stalled a few more times, and then they said that if i stalled one mor time i would be arrested. i left the mall at that pt.

we then went up the metro escalator, and stood around in a group at the top of the escalator. the mall cops were there, in the mall driveway, in their car. at some point, a group of mall cops came out and were very belligerent with someone. i stood back at a distance and took a picture, then turned away and started walking. the cops yelled after me, i gave my camera to another person. they wanted my film, i said i didn't have the camera. gentry jumped in and started arguing with the man, telling him that it was legal to take the picture. the man became very angry with gentry, and then started yelling about how he was here not to warn us about leaving the area, but to tell us to move our cars (all our cars were parked someplace else) from the curb, where there were SOME cars, because the arlington cops were coming. we said that we didn't have any cars, and he ignored that and proceded to warn us again. then he turned and gestured at gentry with his hand. at the same point gentry brought his hand up to scratch his head, and the hands met. the mall cop became very angry and told gentry that if he touched the mall cop again he would do some thing (i forget the threat) then we started talking about the camera, and the mall cop denied that he had ever wanted the film. after that, the mall cop left. then we left.

that's what happened..



Inhuman November 8th, 1992

What follows is my account of the events as I observed them at Pentagon City Fashion Center Mall on the evening of Friday, November 6th.

I arrived at the mall around 6:45 p.m., almost two hours after the meeting began. I recognized a group of people on the food court to be part of the meeting and started heading towards them. At this point, I noticed that there were several mall security personnel and perhaps other law enforcement officials (I'm not sure) spread throughout the meeting area. Most were just standing there, some were talking to the meeting-goers.

Since nothing too dangerous seemed to be happening, I walked into the middle of the meeting area, looking at all the guards. I asked one of the meeting-goers what was going on and he said "We're being detained." I then asked one of the guards (a young caucasian blonde male in a blue spandex biking outfit) what was going on. He replied, "You'll find out from your friends afterwards. Why don't you go wait with your friends over there.", indicating the group of people I entered the mall with.

I left the food court. Some of the guards looked slightly upset that I was leaving, but made no move to stop me. I waited out-of-view of the food court for about five minutes and then returned. At this point, meeting-goers were just beginning to leave the food court area in the direction of the mall exit, apparently having been released from their detention. Guards remained on the outskirts of the group, directing them towards the exit.

I asked one of the guards (a middle-aged heavy-set african-american male) if we had to leave, and he said yes. When I protested, he threatened to arrest me for trespassing since "this is private property." When I asked what his name was, he pointed to his name tag. The name tag had nothing more than a legal signature on it, which was quite unreadable. When asked him what his name was again, explaining that I couldn't read his name tag, he said, "You can't read my name tag? Too bad." Then I noticed he had another name tag with "C. Thomas" clearly printed on it. At this point, Dead Cow, who was nearby, asked if he could take the guard's picture. The guard said that if he did, he would take the film out of the camera. When then left the mall, along with the rest of the group.

We waited in the Metrorail (D.C. public transportation) access tunnel directly outside of the mall for a while, gathering information from each other and deciding on a course of action.

We went upstairs and outside, to a small bank of payphones near the Metro entrance and near the mall's outside entrance. One of the meeting-goers, Lithium Bandit, called the Washington Post and recounted the story, hoping to get a reporter to the scene. They said they would call back if they were interested. Several suggestions were made to call News Channel 8, a cable 24-hours-a-day local news channel, but the call was never made. About twenty of us remained at this point, there having been around forty total.

About ten minutes later, the mall security guards reappeared. I was on the phone with Emmanuel Goldstein at the time, so I didn't see the initial interactions, and I'm still not clear what they were trying to tell us to do this time, as we were no longer on private property. At some point, Dead Cow took his camera out and took a couple pictures of the scene. At this, the guards, especially C. Thomas, became incensed. Thomas demanded the film, somehow claiming that Dead Cow was not allowed to take a picture of him. The film remained in our possesion. Then Gentry, another meeting-goer, began to get in an argument with C. Thomas over Dead Cow's right to take his picture, and the general rights violations that had occured already. At some point, Gentry apparently touched C. Thomas in an inadvertent manner. Thomas then yelled very loudly, "Don't TOUCH me!" and made some threat about what he would do if Gentry touched him again.

People began to leave now, to regroup at the Crystal City Underground, including me, so thus ends my account.

Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1992 09:17:35
Subject: File 5--Confusion About Secret Service Role D.C. "Raid"

((The following will appear on Newsbytes. Newsbytes is a copyrighted commercial service and its material may not be reproduced. This article is posted with the express permission of the authors.))

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1992 NOV 7 (NB) -- In the aftermath of an action on Friday, November 6th by members of the Pentagon City Mall Police and police from Arlington County, VA in which those attending a 2600 meeting at the mall were ordered from the premises, conflicting stories continue to appear.

Attendees at the meeting have contended to Newsbytes that members of the mall police told them that they were "acting on behalf of the Secret Service.". They also maintain that the mall police confiscated material from knapsacks and took film from someone attempting to photograph the action and a list of the names of security officers that one attendee was attempting to compile.

Al Johnson, chief of security for the mall, denied these allegations to Newsbytes, saying "No one said that we were acting on behalf of the Secret Service. We were merely enforcing our regulations. While the group was not disruptive, it had pulled tables together and was having a meeting in our food court area. The food court is for people eating and is not for meetings. We therefore asked the people to leave."

Johnson denied that security personnel took away any film or lists and further said "We did not confiscate any material. The group refused to own up to who owned material on the tables and in the vicinity so we collected it as lost material. If it turns out that anything did belong to any of those people, they are welcome to come in and, after making proper identification, take the material."

In a conversation early on November 9th, Robert Rasor, Secret Service agent-in-charge of computer crime investigations, told Newsbytes that having mall security forces represent the Secret Service is not something that was done and, that to his knowledge, the Secret Service had no involvement with any Pentagon City mall actions on the previous Friday.

A Newsbytes call to the Arlington County police was returned by a Detective Nuneville who said that her instructions were to refer all questions concerning the matter to agent David Adams of the Secret Service. She told Newsbytes that Adams would be providing all information concerning the involvement of both the Arlington Police and the Secret Service in the incident.

Adams told Newsbytes "The mall police were not acting as agents for the Secret Service. Beyond that, I can not confirm or deny that there is an ongoing investigation."

Adams also told Newsbytes that "While I cannot speak for the Arlington police, I understand that their involvement was due to an incident unrelated to the investigation."

Marc Rotenberg, director of the Washington office of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), told Newsbytes "CPSR has reason to believe that the detention of people at the Pentagon City Mall last Friday was undertaken at the behest of the Secret Service, which is a federal agency. If that is the case, then there was an illegal search of people at the mall. There was no warrant and no indication of probable illegal activity. This raises constitutional issues. We have undertaken the filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to determine the scope, involvement and purpose of the Secret Service in this action."

2600 meetings are held on the evening of the first Friday of each month in public places and malls in New York City, Washington, Philadelphia, Cambridge, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. They are promoted by 2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly and are attended by a variety of persons interested in telecommunications and so-called "hacker issues". The New York meeting, the oldest of its kind, is regularly attended by Eric Corley a/k/a Emmanuel Goldstein, editor and publisher of 2600, hackers, journalists, corporate communications professionals and other interested parties. It is known to have been the subject of surveillance at various times by law enforcement agencies conducting investigations into allegations of computer crime.

Corley told Newsbytes "While I'm sure that meetings have been observed by law enforcement agencies, this is the only time that we have been harassed. It's definitely a freedom of speech issue." Corley also that he plans to be at the December meeting in Washington "to insure that it doesn't happen again."

Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1992 09:17:34
Subject: File 6--Conflicting Stories In 2600 Raid; CPSR Files FOIA

((The following will appear on Newsbytes. Newsbytes is a copyrighted commercial service and its material may not be reproduced. This article is posted with the express permission of the authors.))

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1992 NOV 11 (NB) -- In the on-going investigation of possible Secret Service involvement in the Friday, November 6th ejection of attendees at a "2600 meeting" from the premises of the Pentagon City Mall, diametrically opposed statements have come from the same source.

Al Johnson, chief of security for the Pentagon City Mall told Newsbytes on Monday, November 9th "No one said that we were acting on behalf of the Secret Service. We were merely enforcing our regulations. While the group was not disruptive, it had pulled tables together and was having a meeting in our food court area. The food court is for people eating and is not for meetings. We therefore asked the people to leave."

On the same day, Johnson was quoted was quoted in a Communications Daily article by Brock Meeks as saying "As far as I'm concerned, we're out of this. The Secret Service, the FBI, they're the ones that ramrodded this whole thing."

Newsbytes contacted Meeks to discuss the discrepancies in the stories and were informed that the conversation with Johnson had been taped and was available for review. The Newsbytes reporter listened to the tape (and reviewed a transcript). On the tape, Johnson was clearly heard to make the statement quoted by Meeks.

He also said "maybe you outta call the Secret Service, they're handling this whole thing. We, we were just here", and, in response to a Meeks question about a Secret Service contact, "Ah.. you know, I don't have a contact person. These people were working on their own, undercover, we never got any names, but they definitely, we saw identification, they were here."

Newsbytes contacted Johnson again on the morning of Wednesday, November 11 and asked him once again whether there was any Secret Service involvement in the action. Johnson said "No, I told you that they were not involved." When it was mentioned that there was a story in Communications Daily, quoting him to the contrary, Johnson said "I never told Meeks that. There was no Secret Service involvement"

Informed of the possible existence of a tape quoting him to the contrary. Johnson said "Meeks taped me? He can't do that. I'll show him that I'm not fooling around. I'll have him arrested."

Johnson also said "He asked me if the Secret Service was involved; I just told him that, if he thought they were, he should call them and ask them."

Then Johnson again told Newsbytes that the incident was "just a mall problem. There were too many people congregating."

[NOTE: Newsbytes stands by its accurate reporting of Johnson's statements. It also affirms that the story by Meeks accurately reflects the material taped during his interview]

In a related matter, Marc Rotenberg, director of the Washington office of Computer Professionals For Social Responsibility (CPSR) has announced that CPSR has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Secret Service asking for information concerning Secret Service involvement in the incident.

Rotenberg told Newsbytes that the Secret Service has 10 days to respond to the request. He also said that CPSR "is exploring other legal options in this matter."

The Secret Service, in earlier conversations with Newsbytes, has denied that the mall security was working on its behalf.

In the incident itself, a group attending the informal meeting was disbanded and, according to attendees, had property confiscated. They also contend that security guards took film from someone photographing the confiscation as well as a list that someone was making of the guard's names. In his November 9th conversation with Newsbytes, Johnson denied that security personnel took away any film or lists and further said "We did not confiscate any material. The group refused to own up to who owned material on the tables and in the vicinity so we collected it as lost material. If it turns out that anything did belong to any of those people, they are welcome to come in and, after making proper identification, take the material."

2600 meetings are promoted by 2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly and are held on the evening of the first Friday of each month in public places and malls in New York City, Washington, Philadelphia, Cambridge, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. They are regularly attended by a variety of persons interested in telecommunications and so-called "hacker issues".

(Barbara E. McMullen & John F. McMullen/19921111)

Date: Wed 11 Nov 1992 19:34:56
From: Moderators
Subject: File 7--Transcript from Al Johnson Interview

((MODERATORS' NOTE: Al Johnson, Director of Security for the Pentagon City Mall, has denied saying that the US Secret Service was involved in the 2600 disruption, and he has given other news sources a different version than he gave to Brock Meeks. The following are Al Johnson's original comments as transcribed from the original conversation. We leave it to readers to decide for themselves what Al Johnson said in the initial interview.))

Further information may be obtained from Brock Meeks at:
(202) 872-9202 ex. 271; or
2115 Ward Ct. NW, Washington, DC 20037

Transcript of interview with Mr. Al Johnson, Dir. Security for Pentagon City Mall

B. Meeks: I'd like to ask you a few questions about an incident where some of your security guards broke up a meeting of some hackers on Friday (Nov. 6).

Al Johnson: They broke up some meeting of hackers?

B. Meeks: Yes.

AJ: I don't know about breaking any meeting up. Who... first of all I can't talk to you on the phone, if you want to come in, I don't talk to the press on the phone.

B. Meeks: OK

AJ: Ahh... maybe you outta call the Secret Service, they're handling this whole thing. We, we were just here.

B. Meeks: the Secret Service was part of this?

AJ: Well, FBI, Secret Service, everybody was here, so you might want to call their office and talk to them. There's not much I can really tell you here.

B. Meeks: OK

AJ: Our involvement was minimum, you know, minimal.

B. Meeks: I see, but your folks were acting on...

AJ: We didn't break anything... I.. we didn't.. as far as I know, well I can't say much on the phone. But I, well, somebody's awfully paranoid apparently. Where'd you get this information from?

B. Meeks: Umm.... from computer bulletin boards

AJ: Bulletin Boards?

B. Meeks: Yep.

AJ: When did you get it?

B. Meeks: I got it, ah, Sunday night.

AJ: Sunday night?

B. Meeks: Yep.

AJ: [small laugh] Ah, yeah, you gotta call the FBI and the Secret Service there's not much I can do for you here.

B. Meeks: Ok. Al, if I come down there will you talk to me to down there?

AJ: No. I can't talk to you at all. Fact is, there's nothing to talk about. Our involvement in anything was minimal, I don't know where this information came from as far as bulletin boards, and breaking meetin's up and you know...

B. Meeks: Well, the Arlington police were down there too. I mean I've talked to several of the kids that were involved.

AJ: Um-hmmm

B. Meeks: They said, that ah, members of your, of the mall security forces, ah, or security staff, searched them, confiscated some material and didn't give it back. Did any of this happen?

AJ: Like I said, I'm not, I'm not able to talk to you... we have a policy that we don't talk to the press about anything like that. You can call the Secret Service, call the FBI, they're the ones that ramrodded this whole thing, and you talk to them, we're out of this basically, you know, as far as I'm concerned here.

B. Meeks: Ok. Is there a contact person over there that you can...

AJ: Ah.. you know, I don't have a contact person. These people were working on their own, undercover, we never got any names, but they definitely, we saw identification, they were here.

B. Meeks: They were there. So it was all the Secret Service and none of your men?

AJ: Ah, nah, that's not what I said. But they're the ones you want to talk to. There's nothing I can really ya. Okay?

B. Meeks: Okay.

AJ: Thanks.

B. Meeks: Bye.