Wednesday, July 2, 2008

FBI to descend on Denver for Dem event

FBI to descend on Denver for Dem event

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"Hundreds" of FBI agents will be in Denver during the Democratic National Convention, according to James Davis, the FBI special agent in charge of the Denver field division that oversees Colorado and Wyoming.

The FBI is "responsible for gathering intelligence on, primarily terrorist activity, any possible terrorist activity with regard to the convention, and make sure we get that intelligence to our partner agencies so they can be prepared," according to a "Colorado Matters" interview that aired today on Colorado Public Radio. The audio is available here [1].

Davis also said that, "We don't have any information right now about any credible threat to the convention on a terrorist level."

Host Ryan Warner asked about the number of additional FBI agents that will be in town.

"I don't want to say exactly how many, but I can tell you that it's in the hundreds," replied Davis.

He also said that, "Primarily, the folks we have coming in are here to respond to an incident that rises to our jurisdiction."

WARNER: "What would that be?"

DAVIS: "Like a terrorist attack."

WARNER: "O.K. So it's pro-active in many ways, having that many men and women here?"

DAVIS: "It is. I'm comfortable in saying that I would be very happy if they went home without ever doing anything."

Earlier in the interview, regarding the possibility of disruptive protests at the convention, Davis said the FBI is looking at "tactics and groups similar to what we've seen in conventions in the past and other major meetings" such as "blockage of streets and attempts to disrupt traffic flows, that sort of thing."

Davis would not say whether undercover FBI agents have joined protests groups or attended their meetings.

More generally, Davis acknowledged the possibility the convention could draw criminal activity - and that law enforcement partner agencies were aware of that.

"Criminals are smart enough to recognize that law enforcement is going to be very busy during that time. General crimes, things that occur regularly, are more attractive - I think - to criminals at that time when they know that police are going to be heavily otherwise occupied."

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