Take Any Xboxes You Find: The FBI’s History of Snatch and Grab Raids

Docs Detail Staples, Part Bottle of Lighter Fluid Were Seized in 'Search'

Correction: The search warrant cited in this articles was previously wrongly attributed to today’s raids. In actuality it was one of the 2008 raids related to the RNC protests. We apologize for the error, and for any inconvenience.

As shocking as Friday’s raids against Minneapolis Antiwar protesters were, they were hardly without precedent. Though the exact details of the new raids remain somewhat clouded in mystery previous raids on similar pretexts happened in 2008.

During those raids again the pretext of “counter-terror” operations were used and the warrants issued began with the things you might expect i.e. weapons, explosives, plans.

But then the warrant just gets silly and admonishes the raiding officers to take Xboxes and iPods, bills showing what they paid for internet service, and perhaps most odd of all, “hollowed out puppets.”

And what they actually took was not much better. Masses of leaflets and the like were seized as “propaganda” and things as innocent as staples were seized. Large amounts of clothing was also bagged up for having “propaganda” on it, though the clothing was just left in the bags and not seized.

When they moved into the garage things got even sillier, as spare tires were seized and officials even saw, for some reason the need to grab a part bottle of charcoal lighter fluid.

Friday’s raids seem to be more of the same, but thus far we only have one warrant and none of the “receipts” for items seized so we don’t know exactly what they took. Indications are that SWAT teams seized all “pointy” objects in the homes before the FBI entered. Some of those raided have also been ordered to appear in Chicago to report on any communication they may have had between 2001 and present with anyone residing in, among other places, the occupied Palestinian territories.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.