Portland Mayor Tom Potter is accusing the FBI of trying to spy on City Hall, The Oregonian reports. An FBI agent approached a city employee earlier this month seeking information about City Council members and city government. “In the absence of any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, I believe the FBI’s recent actions smack of ‘Big Brother,’ ” Potter said. “Spying on local government without justification or cause is not acceptable to me.” Federal officials confirmed that an agent spoke to a midlevel employee from the city attorney’s office, hoping that person would serve as a source inside City Hall. Daniel Nielsen, the FBI’s assistant special agent in charge in Portland, said, “We’re supposed to talk to people, to develop sources, to develop relationships. It’s not only common, it’s expected.”
Potter said he had been assured that federal investigators have no evidence to suggest criminal conduct in City Hall and that there are no investigations into city government beyond a continuing inquiry into a Portland police failure to crack down on the sale of stolen goods at secondhand stores. The mayor has asked for an internal affairs investigation into the agent’s conduct.