A sophisticated electronic listening device was found yesterday in the ceiling of Philadelphia Mayor John Street’s office. The Philadelphia Inquirer says the FBI quickly said that the eavesdropping device was not related to the ongoing mayor’s race, but the bureau refused to say whether its own agents had planted it. The mayor said he had no idea who bugged his office.
An FBI spokeswoman said: “We are not giving out specific details as to where it was found, exactly what it looks like, whether it was operating or not, or anything like that, other than the fact that we will handle the matter.”
Officers from the Philadelphia Police Department found the bug during a “sweep” of the mayor’s office. The unit had enough battery power to operate for several months.
“This is a huge matter of concern for me,” Street said. “You’d like to think that you have a certain amount of privacy in your own office, and when you don’t, you feel violated.” The bug’s discovery comes as federal authorities are engaged in criminal investigations related to city government, including a ticket-fixing scandal and the award of a $13.6 million airport contract to a firm with ties to the mayor’s brother.