FCC Agents Illegally Impersonate Real Cops

This is a first, as far as I know. The FCC’s tried to bluff their way into busts in the past, but not past actual cops.

In June, FCC Enforcement Bureau field agents made a run into Mount Carmel, Tennessee, to investigate unauthorized jamming of a police radio channel in the area (the problem had been going on for months before the FCC got around to sniffing around).

While in town, the agents ran into Mount Carmel and Church Hill police officers not once, but twice, on traffic stops. In both instances, the FCC folks told the local cops that they were part of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Meth Task Force. They had no credentials to back up their claim, and that made the cops suspicious. Read More

FCC Raid on Knoxville First Amendment Radio

KFAR got hit by a team of FCC agents and three Federal Marshals at around 10 AM local time Wednesday. A news release from the station says the raid force “broke into” the trailer housing the station (with the help of a locksmith) and confiscated everything; this implies that the station was unmanned and automated at the time.

FCC paperwork left behind does not name any particular individual, so for the moment it would seem that KFAR’s most valuable asset – its volunteers – survive to fight another day. The local media also responded to the scene and several articles are already online, with coverage ranging from neutral to positive. Free Radio Santa Cruz’s Skidmark Bob got reaction from a couple of KFAR DJs. At least one station volunteer also videotaped the action. Read More

KFAR: Burgled in Knoxville

Knoxville’s First Amendment Radio reports the break-in happened two weeks ago. The station broadcasts from a trailer (ex-crackhaus) and have put a lot of work into the place. The thieves basically made off with stuff that was not bolted down: a computer, monitor, printer, small television, two CD/MP3 players, microphone and headphones, and assorted cabling. Nothing in the transmission chain was touched.

This thread on the station’s message board hints that there may have been witnesses (including a phone company worker who inadvertently loaned the burglars some wire cutters), yet it remains to be seen just how hard a police force will work on a case involving a pirate station as victim.