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When the FBI Raided My Student Room

I had been up until 3 am, studying for an exam in music creation that I was studying at the university. At 6 am somebody opened the door to the student dorm room where I was sleeping. At the time I never even locked the door since this was up north in Sweden, a very calm place. In the door stood a big man in civilian clothing with a serious expression on his face.

I woke up but remained at peace. He said “You should know why we are here!” in a harsh way that I later realized was just a theater. I said no and he said he was from the Swedish IT crime unit. Behind him came two more Swedish police officers from the local police unit, also in plain clothes. Behind them was a man in black suit and tie, later introduced as a special agent David Black with the FBI.

I still was calm and assured when they asked for permission to let the FBI agent enter the room and ask questions, as their search warrant did not grant him permission.
By the way, the warrant was signed by James von Reis, a prosecutor that is a public figure from taking on numerous high-profile IT cases in Sweden. He’s the evil personified. The Devil walking the earth. I will load my water pistol with holy water and gun him down with it.

Anyway, Knowing I had nothing to be afraid of, I said sure, whatever. One of the local policemen flashed a gun and the FBI agent flashed his badge. I remained unimpressed. Okay Okay, it was kinda cool to see an FBI badge being flashed like in the movies. The agent was nowhere as cool as Fox Mulder though.

When I insisted in saying that I didn’t know why they were there, the police from the IT crime unit explained that I was under investigation for hacking a U.S. Military e-mail server. At the time my student dorm room was pretty spaced out with a lot of computers, synthesizers and books so the police seemed to be sure of themselves that they had found the hacker. There was a wait of about half an hour in my room so I got up to get dressed and one the police almost jumped at me, thinking that I was gonna start a fight or something.

However, I just got dressed and then showed the suit from the FBI my studio equipment. He was disappointed that I didn’t even have any passwords on my computers. But I wasn’t TOO concerned about disappointing him.

The interrogation report

Then they gathered my computers and we took off to the police station. I pictured myself telling my grandchildren about how I was brought to the police station totally out of the blue. It felt totally unreal. Unfortunately the policemen assured me I wasn’t dreaming. They agreed it was something to tell my grandchildren nonetheless.

At first they put me in an office where there was an inspector working with some papers. They said I could wait there because they didn’t feel the need to lock me up.

I was obviously very tired after only 3 hours of sleep and sat down comfortably with my legs on another chair. This made the senior police upset and I felt like telling him to screw himself because they were the ones f**king with me and not the other way around. But clearly it would have been no use arguing with a police that was not connected to my case in any other way than baby sitting me in his office.

After some, actually quite good, breakfast at the office they let me know that the investigation needed more time so they had to put me in the remand prison. I had to change to prison clothes and my stuff was gathered by a bored looking guard. He gave me a curious look when he read in the papers that I was in custody suspected of computer hacking. And a second look when he wrote down the contents of my wallet, where I had a condom. Why he found that noteworthy, I don’t want to know. I prefer not to think about what they might try behind the walls of a remand prison.

Case dismissed by the prosecutor

I was put in a little cell with a TV but there was nothing interesting on. The police said they had also visited my parent’s house so I wanted to call my mom to calm her down. I knew she would worry about me so I wanted to tell her there wasn’t really anything to worry about. They didn’t allow that but they let me write a letter (that I never got the time to send).

A couple of hours and a lunch later they came to the cell and I let them know I didn’t have time for this and they said it took longer than expected. They asked me if I wanted a lawyer but I said I didn’t need one. Then they again asked if I allowed the FBI agent to attend to the interrogation and I said sure, why not? There was an interrogation with me, the IT unit police and the FBI agent. Again he asked me if the agent could ask me questions directly in English. Again I said sure.

During the Interrogation they started to look more and more bored as they realized I was not going to confess to anything. They also dropped their tough façade so we could talk in a relaxed manner. And they had forgotten to dim the room and point a bright lamp at my face from the very beginning.

One funny quirk was that the FBI agent was looking through all my CDs during the interrogation and he said that I spelled porn wrong as I had a CD with a Jenna Jameson porn movie on it. I explained that sometimes on the Internet, people spell it pr0n. He said: Oh, like they spell warez?

They asked if my brothers could have done the hacking but I of course said that I trusted them and that they wouldn’t do anything like that. I now realized that they were probably interrogating my brothers as well, but apparently our stories matched, as I knew they would. I mean, even if we had been up to mischief, we’d at least get a matching story prepared, wouldn’t we? They also explained that I was the main suspect because I was the big brother sibling that had been moving out from my parents’ place first.

I did then tell them that one person that had been in our house earlier was into this sort of things. That person was in the same school class as my youngest brother and I didn’t want them to mess with my brother. I was informed that the alleged hacking was done with my father’s dial-up Internet account. They then claimed to have evidence that the hacking had been performed from the house early in the morning but they didn’t push it further once I said that’s not really possible. At the end of the interrogation they had already given up the case and I was released.

The next day at the University, everybody in my class were giving me curious smiles as my friend had told them I missed the exam because of sitting in an interrogation with the FBI. It was kinda funny because they didn’t really know if I really did it or not. Everything was cool and back to normal, except that they still had my computers and it was hard to prepare for the upcoming concert without my studio computers. But I managed it.

PS. It turns out I had an alibi. It appears I was doing the military service as a fire fighter at the time of the crime… Or did I?