Thursday, October 09, 2003

FBI Took Mayor Street's Blackberry


Federal authorities have seized Mayor Street’s BlackBerry handheld computer as part of their wide-ranging probe into possible corruption in City Hall.

Armed with a warrant, FBI agents arrived at City Hall and asked for the BlackBerry late this afternoon - hours after Philadelphia police, in a sweep of the mayor’s office, discovered a sophisticated listening device and several microphones the FBI had planted in the ceiling of Street’s City Hall office, said an official involved in the investigation.

Street turned the device over to Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson, who in turn gave it to the FBI, the official said. Street immediately declined comment, and federal authorities could not be immediately reached.

Though Street continued to sound a note of vindication yesterday, stressing that he was not a “target” of corruption prosecutors, the revelation about his BlackBerry is another sign that he may be a focus of a wide-ranging federal probe into corruption in city contracts.

“I’m having a great day,” a smiling Street said on CNN. “Because it’s been confirmed by the US Attorney that I’m not the target of any federal investigation….To now have that part of the thing cleared up is very important to me.”

But a high ranking law enforcement official, who declined to be named in print, said: “They don’t put a room bug in the office of a person to get evidence about his associate. You’re talking about criminal conduct in that room.”

Maybe they have reason. We'll see, but so far his opponent has been behaving like a sniveling little turd over this, trying to fan the fire in dishonest ways.