FBI Should Investigate Terrorism, Not Sex
June 18, 2002
by George Getz
Here's one question Congress should ask as it investigates
whether U.S. intelligence lapses contributed to the September 11 terrorist
attack, Libertarians say: Why were a dozen FBI agents investigating a
brothel in New Orleans on the same day that terrorists crashed airliners
into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?
"It's clear that the FBI has been practicing unsafe sex on the taxpayer's
dime," said Libertarian Party Executive Director Steve Dasbach. "Americans
are less safe every minute law enforcement spends investigating 'crimes'
like prostitution instead of tracking down terrorists and other violent
In an unusual federal prostitution case that has set New Orleans abuzz, the
FBI is prosecuting a mother-daughter team who ran a bordello out of a
white-columned, Victorian mansion in the French Quarter. The madam, Jeanette
Maier and her mother, Tommie Taylor, are accused of providing discreet
sexual favors for $300 an hour to bankers, stockbrokers, an ex-NFL football
star and even a New Orleans judge.
The agency revealed last week that an FBI undercover team had eavesdropped
on more than 5,000 phone calls to the brothel over the past year, and as a
result it has indicted the two women and 12 prostitutes on conspiracy and
The most shocking bit of information to emerge: On September 11, the day
terrorists commandeered four airliners and crashed them into the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon, FBI agents were conducting an "investigation" by
eavesdropping as hookers arranged sexual liaisons, according to the
Washington Post. Even worse, agents continued monitoring the brothel after
the 9/11 attacks, Dasbach noted.
"Americans should be appalled that at the moment a team of terrorists
murdered 3,000 innocent people, a team of FBI agents was busy protecting
people from sex," Dasbach said. "This is clear and convincing evidence that
the FBI's priorities are downright dangerous. At a time when terrorists are
planning further attacks on Americans, deploying even one agent to spy on
hookers is a threat to national security."
The FBI obtained wiretap authority 13 months ago by claiming the bordello
was involved in mob dealings and illegal drug transactions - yet no such
evidence ever surfaced, Dasbach said.
"The same agency that quashed an effort to search the computer of the
suspected 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, had no problem getting a
warrant to listen to dirty phone calls," Dasbach pointed out. "Why was the
FBI more vigilant about voyeurism than about terrorism?
"We'll never know if 9/11 could have been prevented had these agents been
tracking terrorists instead of tapping hookers' phones. But we do know that
the next terrorist plot won't be foiled by FBI agents stationed outside a
And sex isn't the only victimless crime that the FBI is wasting its time on,
"The agency squanders its resources on 'crimes' like drug dealing, gambling
and Internet pornography, all of which harm no one except perhaps those
"It also prosecutes crimes that should be done by state and local police
instead, such as combating street gangs, prosecuting auto thefts, and
investigating telemarketing and mortgage-loan fraud.
"Congress should immediately order the FBI to stop wasting resources in this
way," Dasbach said. "Consider it a prophylactic against terrorism."
George Getz is Press Secretary for the Libertarian