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Photojournalist gets harassed for photographing FBI building in Seattle

If you want photos of the Abraham Lincoln Building in Seattle, all you need to do is search for 1100 3rd Avenue on Google Maps.

However, if that photo appears a bit too distorted for your taste, then all you have to do is log on to the architectural site Emporis and you will come up with a


If you want photos of the Abraham Lincoln Building in Seattle, all you need to do is search for 1100 3rd Avenue on Google Maps.

However, if that photo appears a bit too distorted for your taste, then all you have to do is log on to the architectural site Emporis and you will come up with a set of ten quality photos from various angles of the building.

You will even have the option of purchasing high-resolution versions of these photos.

But if you happen to be in Seattle and you decide you want to take your own photos of the building, then you will be instantly harassed by FBI Agents.

At least that is what happened to a photojournalist from the Seattle Weekly last week.

The Abraham Lincoln Building, you see, houses Seattle’s FBI field office.

You wouldn’t know that by scrolling through Google Maps or Emporis.

But the feds have a way of blowing their cover even as they attempt to keep their cover from being blown.

Now anybody who reads this article – as well as the tens of thousands of people who have read the original piece in the Seattle Weekly – not to mention the thousands of others who read about this incident in various other blogs know exactly where the FBI hangs its hat in Seattle.

As SW photog Steven Miller began clicking off shots, a building security guard suddenly stepped out onto the public sidewalk, where it is legal for anyone to take pictures. He asked what they were doing.

“We told him,” says Hildes, “we’re taking pictures on a public sidewalk. He asked that we not include the building. We said that was the point. He asked if we knew who was in the building. I answered, ‘The FBI and Washington Fusion Center.’ He asked what I had against the Washington Fusion Center. I declined to answer. He asked my name. I declined to answer that as well.”

The guard made a call and, says Hildes, “A few minutes later a man dressed in a designer camo shirt – ID around his neck but tucked into his shirt pocket – introduced himself as an FBI agent and asked what we were doing and why. He asked for my ID repeatedly. I declined and we kept on shooting. He asked for my ID again. I said he didn’t have a right to it. He insisted he had a right to ask for my ID. I noted that I had a right to refuse. He said it again, and I told him I had a right to tell him to go jump in Elliott Bay, and pointed out the location for him.

“By this point there were three more FBI agents all demanding to know who I was and what we were doing.”


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