Ben was not surprised when he heard that two agents from the Albany regional office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation turned up at his apartment last Thursday.
“If you are an activist, it’s expected at some point that they’ll come to your door,” he said.
Ben, whose real name is being withheld at his request after word began circulating of the FBI’s visit, said he wasn’t home at the time. His housemate Jo Robin said the federal agents told her they wanted to interview Ben about planned protests of the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers in Burlington on July 30.
“It’s not pretty remarkable,” Ben told VTDigger. “It doesn’t blow my mind. But it does get my goat that it’s not unusual.” His activist work is legal and nonviolent, he points out. “I just make phone calls, work on housing and do spreadsheets,” he said. At some protests he has engaged in civil disobedience.
“If the FBI is showing up at my neighbor’s door just to ask questions, just to conduct surveillance, that’s ridiculous,” Ben continued.