Has the Federal Bureau of Investigation taken sides in America’s same-sex marriage debate? A 2014 visit that two agents paid to a 61-year-old gay man suggests that at least some in the bureau may have come down on the con side.
“They woke me up, they were pounding on the door,” the man told Gay City News. “I was in a pretty deep sleep.”
The FBI agents, a man and a woman, arrived at his Manhattan apartment at roughly 6:30 a.m. this past November. He cracked open the door and the agents presented their identification saying they wanted a word with him. As the man turned to put on some clothes, the female agent quickly put her foot in the door to prop it open. After he dressed, the agents entered the apartment and the conversation lasted about 10 minutes.
Manhattan gay man says authorities came to his house after he left four messages for anti-gay Princeton prof
The man is a practitioner of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals,” a 1971 book that details how less powerful communities can organize against powerful interests. Among the 12 rules are “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon” and the man excels at ridicule. He regularly calls LGBT community opponents to engage them in debate or leave them challenging or taunting messages. He never threatens them, but he is not above being insulting — his favorite epithet is “cracker” — and forceful.
“I do it all the time,” said the man, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid any repercussions in his professional life. “It makes me feel better. I have a lot of aggression… It makes me feel better to fuck with their heads… I do multiple calls in a week when I’m in the mood.”
The FBI visit resulted from a message he left for Robert George, a Princeton University professor who has opposed the push for marriage and who defended the Texas sodomy law in a US Supreme Court brief written for the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, two right-wing groups, in the 2003 case that struck down sodomy laws nationwide. George is among the best-known LGBT community opponents.
“I love using that word,” the 61-year-old told Gay City News. “I think that what I said was, ‘That for all your fancy credentials, you’re just another garden-variety cracker bigot.’”
George is understandably sensitive to phone messages. In 2012, Theodore Shulman, a pro-choice activist, pleaded guilty to two counts of harassing and threatening pro-life activists, including George, and was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and three years of post-release supervision.
“It is a matter of public record that I was among those threatened by Mr. Shulman,” he wrote in an email to Gay City News. “I do not comment on interactions with the FBI or state authorities on that case or others. I can say that when I receive threatening messages or messages containing racial or other abusive epithets, I forward them to the proper authorities. Usually I forward them to campus security officials, who make decisions about where to go from there. I do not, however, make requests. Rather I leave the matter of possibly investigating a threat to the judgment of law enforcement professionals.”
The 61-year-old told Gay City News that he has left about four messages for George over two years and what is notable is that he never left his name or contact information. That means the FBI had to do some work to find him. Equally notable is that a Freedom of Information request seeking all the FBI documents related to the November interview produced no records, so the agents did not deem the interview important enough to enter in the FBI’s central records system. So why were they there? The FBI did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The male agent appeared to be aware that the visit risked appearing like the FBI was signing up with George. The man reported that the male agent kept saying, “‘I don’t want to take sides here’… That was the point he was making. He didn’t want to get involved in a political dispute.”
The female agent was “mean,” the man told Gay City News, and she kept asking, “Have you learned your lesson?”
The man hasn’t learned his lesson.
“I would love to call him again,” he told Gay City News. “I’m waiting for this to shake out… I like the idea of fucking with him. If all this trouble is an indication that I did, I’m very happy.”