FYI:CENSOR - IRS raids a cypherpunk (fwd)

Eugene Leitl (
Mon, 7 Apr 1997 22:43:08 +0200 (MET DST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 15:40:40 -0600
From: FringeWare News Network <email@Fringeware.COM>
Cc: Declan McCullagh <>
Subject: CENSOR - IRS raids a cypherpunk

Sent from: Declan McCullagh <>

[I've attached some excerpts from the article. Check
out the URL below for the whole thing. --Declan]


The Netly News Network
April 3, 1997

IRS raids a cypherpunk
by Declan McCullagh (

Jim Bell's first mistake was publishing an
essay describing how disgruntled citizens could
kill off Federal government agents by using
anonymous betting pools and digital cash. His
second mistake was informing the IRS that the
agency had no legal authority to tax him.

About twenty armed IRS agents and other
Federal police swarmed into Bell's home in
Washington state on Tuesday morning, hunting for
evidence that Bell's "Assassination Politics"
essay had come to fruition. They expropriated
Bell's three computer systems, two guns and even
a solitary mouse cable. The Feds were taking no
chances: Since Bell's voluminous Net postings
mentioned tax collectors, agents from the BATF,
FBI, DEA, and local police forces joined the


The raid stemmed from a six-month tussle
between Bell and the IRS, which began in November
1996 when the 38-year old computer engineer
demanded a hefty tax refund and threatened to
convene his own "common-law court" if it was
refused. That grabbed the Feds' attention. (So
did the actions of the "Multnomah County Common
Law Court," which apparently met in January to
convict IRS agents and Attorney General Janet
Reno of "theft by deception.") In February, IRS
agents seized Bell's 1986 Honda as payment for
back taxes -- and found inside it a printout of
his "Assassination Politics" essay. "


And it was, ultimately, a Federal magistrate
who signed the search warrant on 9:02 am on March
28 at the request of the IRS. Jeffrey Gordon, an
inspector in the IRS' Internal Security Division,
details in an 10-page affidavit how he traced
Bell's use of allegedly fraudulent Social
Security Numbers, how he learned that Bell had
been arrested in 1989 for "manufacturing a
controlled substance," how he found out that Bell
possessed the home addresses of a handful of IRS
agents. Gordon's conclusion: Bell planned "to
overthrow the government." The IRS investigator
says in his affidavit that Bell's "essay details
an illegal scheme by Bell which involves plans to
assassinate IRS and other government officals...
I believe that Bell has begun taking steps to
carry out his Assassination Politics plan."


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The Netly News Network
Washington Correspondent

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