Again, via email:
To the Pomona College Community:
This afternoon, I received a phone call from the Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office of the FBI, who apologized for any disruption caused on our campus by the visit of two members of the Joint Task Force on Terrorism to Professor Miguel Tinker Salas’s office on Wednesday. He assured me that no intimidation was intended and that he regretted that the timing and location of the interview request suggested otherwise.
A short time later, the FBI’s Los Angeles Office released the attached public statement. There has been a great deal of media interest in these events, and I believe that these latest developments may be covered by several news channels this evening or this weekend.
We are grateful to all of you who have helped bring about this apology by virtue of your communications with professional colleagues and professional associations across the country. I am very sorry that our colleague was subjected to this treatment, and I’m sure you join me in hoping that we will not have a repetition of this kind of incident in the future.
The attached public statement:
For Immediate Release
DATE: March 10, 2006
FBI STATEMENT REGARDING INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW OF POMONA COLLEGE PROFESSOR
Agents of the FBI and its state, local and federal task force partners routinely conduct interviews in the course of daily activity. Being interviewed by FBI Agents or Task Force Officers should not suggest wrongdoing on the part of the interviewee. The FBI takes great pains to avoid publicity when interviews are conducted.
The FBI and its task force partners in state, local and federal agencies are mindful of the need to respect the circumstances that might surround the timing and location of an informational interview. When requested to participate in interviews, individuals are free to indicate a preference regarding these issues.
With regard to the interview of the professor, the purpose of the interview was to seek information. There was no intent on the part of the FBI, regarding the timing or location, to place the professor, his students or Pomona College in an uncomfortable situation.
I’m not quite sure that rises to the level of an apology, given the (mighty blatant, to my surprise) note of desire to avoid publicity, but I guess we take what we can get. Thanks to any of you whose outrage helped provoke a response, and remember, when requested to participate in interviews, you are free to indicate a preference regarding these issues.