Chapter Three Bugging the FBI...

In July of 1978 I was contacted by another foreign government, Argentina, that needed training and equipment.  They arranged for me to fly there and meet with their technical people.   I declared most of their equipment crude and outdated and recommended they replace it. They wanted to buy bugs, bugs and more bugs and wanted to do it through a U.S. Recording type of company.  I told them NO WAY, left the country, and have not heard from them since!   I can't leave this paragraph without making a comment about how universaly beautiful Argentinean women are.   I wish I could have stayed... but I don't speak Spanish.

In mid 1978 an Executive Vice President (EVP) of Northwestern Bank requested a visit to my facility.  I had never dealt with this particular person but I knew Duncan was involved with other more pressing matters. The EVP told me that the FBI had replaced the IRS as Duncan's chief antagonist and the FBI was totally disrupting the functioning and operations of Northwestern Bank. The FBI was using the old "divide and conquer" routine to demoralize and frighten the employees. The FBI started with lower level employees and were working upwards towards management.  Duncan felt it would be a good idea if every manager carried a pocket recorder to recorded any and all conversations with the investigating agents.  The language of his intent was clearly within the confines of the law, i.e. one party consent.   He also purchased three 1/3rd speed cassettes recorders to record conference room confrontations. The EVP left my facility with one of the 1/3rd speed recorders and I ordered the remaining two for him.

Several weeks later the EVP telephoned and indicated that there was one scenario they weren't prepared for... that being the making of recordings in a Northwestern Bank office controlled by the FBI. I told the EVP that regardless of the surroundings the same one party consent rule would apply.

A few days later a Northwestern aircraft arrived at BWI airport to ferry me to North Wilkesboro.  That Sunday I was taken to the main bank building and shown the office the bank wanted to monitor. The 40' by 40' area is at the left side of this picture.
The office is immediately to the right of that area.It was near a corner of the building that had glass windows all around. There was a roughly 40 foot by 40 foot open area in the corner that contained no furniture whatsoever. To the left was an office with the door open. Just outside the office were several knocked down cardboard boxes and tubes from vacuum cleaners. The inside of the office was absolutely sterile. One desk, one chair, one telephone (sitting the floor).     As usual, I had brought some countermeasure equipment with me to do a quick check of any new and unfamiliar surroundings. I felt, after seeing the room, that it most likely was bugged so I set the countermeasure equipment aside. A quick glance out of the window revealed an automobile pointing directly at me in the parking lot across the street. The EVP showed me the proposed listening post and I could see that the length of the run would need a preamplifier at the microphone end of the system. Based on the EVP's earlier description, I had taken only a microphone and hank of RG-174 coaxial cable. Back at the motel I pulled a couple of resistors, a capacitor and a 2N3391A out of one of my countermeasure preamps and constructed a microphone preamp.Knowles BA1501, resistors, .1mfd capacitor, 
RG174 cable and 2N3391A On my way back to the bank building I stopped by the car I had seen earlier. The car had no tires and was sitting on four cinder blocks. It was covered with dust and debris and obviously had been sitting somewhere for a long time... but not there.   There was no drip line around the car!  Out came my contact microphone and when placed on the car I heard the unmistakable sound of a time lapse camera.  I thought... and probably said out loud... C'mon you guys, you can do better than this!

On returning to the target room I installed the microphone and preamp inside the telephone jack cover.   In an office on the other side of the building I connected my preamp to the designated wires... turned up the volume... and I could hear myself as clear as a bell.   A sense of pride came over me and I was satisfied I had earned my money. I packed my bags and left town on one of Northwestern's airplanes.



Shortly afterwards Duncan was indicted for misapplication of several hundred thousand of the banks money.  He was convicted of misapplying $675.00!  Thanks to one of the idiotsyncrasies of our legal system, the sentencing guidelines are base on what you are charged with, not what you are convicted of, and Duncan was given a three year sentence.   He was now a broken man and the vultures came to feed.... and feed they did.

To thank him for all he had done for them 15,000 people came to Duncan's send off party. Do you have that many friends? Duncan was a giant of a man in North Carolina and had helped hundreds of thousands of people during his term as Chairman.  Now, that was all to end.

Shortly afterwards Duncan, Starr and the EVP were charged with bugging the FBI.   They had extremely bad counsel.  Rather than stick with their lawful position of one party consent, counsel came up with all kinds of rinky-dink defenses and got them all convicted.   I followed the trial closely and was more than slightly pissed that they did not come to me for advice and guidance.



Chapter One      The Beginning...
Side Bar A          Bomb Story
Chapter Two     The The U S Recording Scandal...
Chapter Four    The Criminal Case...
Chapter Five     The Civil Case...
Chapter Six        Repercussions...
Chapter Seven My personal observations...

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