Written journal entry, dated for 9 November, 2003
So I await the upload of my perl module into CPAN. I'm so excited, because this is my first upload. I realize I am behind on packing for my work trip. I'd better hurry. Becky and I pack like mad, getting me ready just as the Metro Car driver shows up, an hour early. I think it strange that he comes an hour early (usually 1/2 hour to 15 minutes is pretty standard), but I think nothing of it at the time. I'm telling Becky how to track my flights on the computer, and hand her a final copy of my itenerary. I kiss her goodbye, and in a bit of foreshadowing, give her the same statement that I've given every time I've left on a trip since we met: "If any time the police come, and ask to search our place, ask for a warrant, and you're entitled to an inventory. I don't think you'll need to worry about it, but you know how paranoid I am." "Yes, of course, I know that by now. Don't worry honey."
I get in my Metro car and tell the driver my flight number, so he knows where to drop me off.
Usually, the drivers are really talkative, and friendly. This one didn't seem very talkative, but oh well, I'm sure he's just having a long day or something.
We're going through Bloomfield, near Lone Pine and Telegraph, when we get pulled over by a cop car. They ask for both of our IDs, and eventually come back and give the guy a warning for changing lanes excessively. They hand my ID back. "Thank you for providing us your ID, Mr Timmins. Have a nice day"
We both look at each other, thinking "What the hell was that all about?". We get back on our way, and bullshit about traffic laws and offenses. We eventually quiet down and listen to the lions game on the radio. Sports aren't my thing, but I really don't care what's on the radio anyway.
Eventually we make it to US-10 and I-94 area, and I hear another siren chirp. This time a cop swoops by us with it's lights on, and cuts in front of us. Another flanks us to our left, and two more are behind us.
My driver looks back at me and says: "Who the fuck are you? What is going on?" "I don't know, but I think you'd better pull over" He pulls over. "So what do we do now?", he asks. "I don't know about you, but I'm putting my hands up. It makes them know we're not armed." "okay"
At this point I see two unmarked cars pull up behind. Two men in suits get out, and the cops get out of their cars, and hide behind their doors with guns drawn.
"Oh my god, who the fuck are you sir?" "I'm just a dorky computer geek kid, I swear it!"
The men approach my door.
"Oh, fuck." "Who is that?" "FBI"
The agent motions for me to roll down my window. It's locked, so I just open the door.
"Are you Paul Timmins?"
"That depends on who's asking"
"Mr. Timmins, I'm agent (forgot name) from the FBI. You're under arrest for computer intrusion. Please step out of the vehicle, keeping your hands where I can se them. Are you armed?"
(In a loud voice so everyone can hear) "No, I'm not armed"
All the cops lower their guns. So it works. Neat.
Another agent reaches in and grabs my bag a moment before I do myself. They're questioning the driver, and my agent reads me my Miranda warning.
"So are you guys for real? Can I see some ID?"
My heart sinks as they both pull out FBI badges.
"So I'm not on candid camera, or punked?"
"No sir, this is not candid camera or punked."
"Well, for what it's worth, this is far nicer than the way they show it on the show COPS, I mean, you haven't banged my head on the car once!"
"We can if you'd like, sir."
"No, that's plenty alright."
"Do you consent to a search of your backpack?"
"Well, we're entitled to do it anyway. So we're asking, can we?"
"If you're permitted to do so by statute, I'm not preventing you from exercising your rights. But I disagree and protest to any search of my belongings."
They reach in, pulling out three ricochet modems.
Oh shit, is that what this is about, I ask myself?
"What are these, sir?"
I'm now in cuffs, being directed to the unmarked car. I walk past just as they open the trunk, and seize my luggage. Fuck.
The agent offers to re-cuff me in the front, since it'd suck less during transport. I just have to agree not to run.
"Only guilty people run."
"Sometimes the innocent do, Paul."
"Not the smart ones. Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere."
I get my cuffs in front.
We bullshit about various topics along the way. I toss out a few feelers to see what this is all about. Eventually I get a suspicion this is about that stupid thing Adam was doing with Salcedo. The most disturbing discussion we had was a political argument about Miranda Warnings. The FBI agent hated them. He said he wished those who were ignorant could remain ignorant. But is that justice, I ask? Sure. Natural selection, he says.
I then get the feeling this is going to be a long day.
So I get led into the offices at 19 and Garfield, and they bring me in. It's sunday night, and the offices are full.
"Does everyone usually work on Sunday?", I ask?
"Nope, this is all just for you."
He then announces "Paul Timmins is in custody. We got him."
A few of the agents cheered.
What the hell is going on?
I get led into a room, where I empty my pockets, which are inventoried. I tried to leave my USB key that had my backups on it in my pocket, but they found it during the pat down, and took it. Fuck. It was worth a shot.
They want to interrogate me. I say they can, provided I get to lay the ground rules.
1. You cannot ask any questions about me. If I don't like it, I'll decline to answer. Three times, and I'm asking for an attorney.
2. If you ask me a question I cannot answer one way or another without incriminating myself, like "Do you still beat your wife", It's over. No second chances. Lawyer time.
3. If you don't like my rules, then happily call me an attorney.
4. Oh, and in the beginning, it's gonna be quid pro quo. I tell you something, you tell me something. If you don't like it, get me an attorney.
"Who are you to set the ground rules? We ask the questions here!"
"Fine then, call me an attorney."
"No, that's quite alright, we'll do it."
"What's your name?"
"Paul Gregory Timmins. Why am I here?"
"You're charged with computer intrusion."
"Where do you live?"
"(address removed). Are you searching it right now?"
"Yes, your girlfriend refused to let us in without a warrant. We're getting that right now."
"Have you ever broken into a computer before?"
"I'm not going to answer that. That's strike one."
"*grumble* Okay. So where were you going when you were arrested?"
"San Jose, via Denver for a work trip. You're gonna seize all my computers, aren't you?"
"Every last one."
They spent the next 2 hours asking me shit they already knew (demonstratably, as they had my credit record, traffic violation history, and printouts of my livejournal and homepage lying in front of me).
In retrospect, even my attorney was impressed with how I handled the questioning. But I should have had him there anyway. There's one thing you learn – no matter what they tell you, that arrest warrant isn't going to go away, even if it's mistaken identity. Get a lawyer, don't say a word to these jerks.
At some point I begin feeling my blood sugar dropping. I ask for a hamburger from wendy's, and they dispatch an agent to get me several. Mmm. Tasty.
Around 12:10am, they drop me off at Macomb County Jail.