FBI seizes local Md. library computers

The FBI removed computer records from the C. Burr Artz Library this week, a library official confirmed Saturday.

Darrell Batson, director of Frederick County Public Libraries, said two FBI employees came to the downtown Frederick library either Wednesday or Thursday. The agents removed two public computers from the library’s second floor. They told him they were taking the units back to their office in Washington, D.C., Batson said.

Batson expected the computers would be returned early this week, he said.

Debbie Weierman, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington field office, would not comment Saturday on whether the agency had removed records from the library.

This was the third time in his 10 years with FCPL that the FBI has come to the library seeking records, Batson said. It was the first time they came without a court order.

The library’s procedure for such requests usually requires a court order, however after the agent described the case and the situation, he was persuaded to give them access, Batson said.

“They had an awful lot of information,” he said, but he was not allowed to discuss specifics.

“It was a decision I made on my experience and the information given to me,” he said.

C. Burr Artz Library has several dozen public computers. The agents seemed to know which ones they needed access to, he said.

Anyone with a library card and a PIN number can use FCPL computers. Without a library card, a person can get a temporary pass to go online.

Batson said the agents made no mention of Bruce Ivins, anthrax or Fort Detrick.

“Obviously it coincided with the events everyone is talking about,” he said.

(Copyright 2008 The Frederick News-Post. All rights reserved.)