Today outside of day one of the historic trial of Rich Paul for cannabis distribution, myself, Pete Eyre, and Ademo Freeman had the opportunity to interview FBI Special Agent Phil Christiana. Earlier in the day, on the witness stand, Phil admitted to working for the joint terrorism task force, and was very reluctant to reveal any information about his asking Rich Paul to wear a wire. When asked directly why he was investigating the Keene Activist Center, he stated that he could not speak about the KAC. Coincidentally (or not) two weeks after Rich’s arrest, city bureaucrats obtained a search warrant to inspect for smoke detectors and evidence of a ‘lodging house’.
As he exited the courthouse following his testimony today, the three of us asked Phil about his investigations into peaceful people in the Keene area. According to him, Rich’s case is the only time he has worked with the NH Drug Task Force, receiving approximately six calls for service from local and state agencies per year. His responses were brief and slick. When Kim Kossick, Rich’s public defender, inquired why Christiana offered to drop charges if Rich would wiretap others at the Keene Activist Center, the agent responded that he was not at liberty to discuss an investigation relative to the KAC. Christiana has had an interest in finding informants within the New Hampshire liberty movement for a few years. He approached Dave Ridley in 2005 but ceased interacting with him once informed that everything he relayed to Ridley would be shared publicly. According to Dave:
My experience with him was that he was more or less polite and professional…but creepy. He came to the same Keene house when I lived there, to learn more about Russell Kanning’s plans for civil disobedience at Manchester Airport’s TSA checkpoint.
He also requested to have lunch with me and indicated, not in so many words, that he wanted me to be an informant. I told him I would be interested in having that lunch but would report everything we said to the public. He decline to interact with me after that.
Shortly after Rich was released on bail for the charges he’s currently on trial for, he spread the word that the FBI was looking to make him into a confidential informant. When Pete Eyre, who was at the time living at the KAC, tried to contact Phil about why he wanted to wiretap his home, the federal agent declined to discuss anything on the record, and insisted on an undocumented conversation with Pete.
During the trial, Christiana stated that it is FBI policy not to record interrogations. For this reason, no record exists of himself trying to convince Rich to covertly record others. What does it say about an individual whose job is to record others without their consent, for the purpose of collecting incriminating evidence against them, that does not feel comfortable discussing the nature of their work on the record?
The trial of Rich Paul has caught the interest of a number of media outlets in recent days, with The Examiner, Vice, Cannabis Culture, and CopBlock running independent stories. Ademo published his angle of the interview with Christiana to his youtube channel earlier this evening. Live updates from the trial will be posted to the Free Keene twitter feed as proceedings resume in the morning.