FBI smeared, tried to extort hacker to spy for them, wife tells RT

Reuters / Nacho Doce
The FBI has suspiciously refused to show the interrogation recording of an Anonymous-linked hacker, who claims he was jailed for six months after rejecting an agency request to spy on drug cartels and corrupt officials, his wife, Amber Salinas told RT.

READ MORE: Hacker from Anonymous says he was charged after refusing to help FBI

RT:Could you please summarize the complicated case of Fidel Salinas and the charges that were put against him?

Amber Salinas: This started back in January 2012 when our house was raided by the local county sheriff. They went into the house under the premise of a protected computer being hacked. They claimed there was a brute force attack which caused the slowdown of the county website.

When they went into the house, they arrested Fidel and they confiscated all the computers. Now, the strange thing is that that’s a federal crime, but there were no federal agents present at that time. Fidel had no contact with federal agents until 9 months after that initial arrest, which was September of 2012.

RT:One of the reasons according to Fidel is that he refused to cooperate with the FBI in an investigation on Mexican drug cartels. Would you elaborate on that?

AS: Fidel was asked to go in to pick up his computer equipment in May 2013. We thought that we’re just going in to pick up his equipment, so I went with him. I was in a lobby, an agent comes out saying “we’ll be right back.”

So, he goes in and I was waiting for several hours. I was nervous. I got tired of waiting in the lobby, so I went outside. Later on a female agent comes out and says, “you know, we're just asking him a couple of questions.” He has already been there for hours. She started asking me if I knew if he had any ties with Anonymous; what my political history was; what his family history was; if his family had any political ties. And I told her that I was not feeling well, I was pregnant at that time, I wanted to go home. She went back inside.

Then I received a call from Fidel in the Federal building, he said he was almost done. Maybe an hour later he comes outside. Then, on the way home, I asked him what happened, and he started telling me that they’ve brought up Anonymous and that they felt that he was a member of Anonymous. And they knew that Anonymous was against drug cartels, and that he should use his intelligence and “superpowers” to help them out and get drug cartel information as well as information for corrupt political officials that were helping drug cartels out.

RT:Do you think that the FBI tried to intimidate Fidel or force him to work for them by slapping 44 charges on him?

AS: They did. After that six hour interview that he had in May 2013, they did not actually arrest him until September of that year, which was several months later. They had returned most of his equipment at that time except for two laptops. So when they arrested him, it was one single count. And he pleaded not guilty. Then after that there were several superseding indictments, where they added 13 counts. Then they added 31 counts. And it was just getting worse and worse with the counts that they were adding. In the last bid counts they included 18 cyberstalking counts.

It really took a toll on him and us because… cyberstalking, I mean, you seem like a weird creep, almost like a predator. And it was a complete smear campaign. He kept on pleading not guilty. I feel like if they had the evidence, if they had him saying something on tape, or they had something written, then it is all the evidence they would have needed really. They just kept tacking things on and if they had hard evidence, which they had retrieved from the computer, then he would have been arrested a long time ago and there would have been one indictment with all of the counts, rather than adding them on periodically.

RT:I believe Fidel does not have any direct proof of these FBI “requests.” Do you think he would be able to prove that allegation if it comes up in court?

AS: Like I said, he was in an FBI building for six hours. When you go into a Federal building, you are not allowed to take any electronic devices. You cannot take your cellphone in. Sometimes they make you take off your watch depending on what it is.

So there is no way he could have recorded anything. He did not have any papers with him or anything like that. However the FBI, being in their own building, and being the FBI, they has every possibility to record that conversation and if he admitted to some kind of wrong-doing there like they claim he did, then they should be able to show that interview themselves.

However, they did not record it. Because, to whose convenience would it be that they show that interview?

RT:What’s your take on the claims of the Justice Department on the charges against Fidel and the FBI’s denial?

AS: Well, the FBI, I guess, that is what they are going to say, right? They deny it. But the DoJ, I think was interesting, because instead of denying it with the FBI, they said: “he has no proof.” So, I felt like it was the admittance of it. She said the type of thing that I don’t think was enough. To say that there was no substantial evidence or anything there? It was just kind of like: “well he can’t prove it, you can’t prove it, we can’t prove it, so let’s leave it at that.”

READ MORE: FBI may put alleged Anonymous member behind bars for 440 years

RT:What comes next then for you and Fidel?

AS: On February 2, he was sentenced to six months in prison, three months home confinement and three years’ probation. The judge said that it was a symbolic sentencing and they had to make an example of him. This is a very strange case, it is the first of its kind in our region. He turned himself in on Friday afternoon at two o'clock and I have not heard from him. I was calling different facilities to find out where he was. I had been told he was at one facility and when I called to make sure that he was getting his medication, I wanted to see if he had money in his account. Whenever I would call, I was told that he wasn’t there. Another thing is that you can find an inmate with their federal number on the BOP website. I kept going on the BOP website and was putting in his federal number, I was putting in his name, his age and it just would not pop up. After the WIRED article came out, I searched for it – nothing was there. And then maybe couple of hours later, I searched for his name and all of the sudden it pops up. It says that he has never been to the Bureau of Prisons Custody.

So I guess, they've been moving him from location to different location. And I have been calling frantically! It turns out that the location that I called to yesterday, where they told me that he wasn't there – he was actually there! This is the second location he has been at. At the first location, he was there for 5 days, and he said they immediately put him into solitary confinement where they irregularly gave him his medication. He has generalized anxiety disorder. So he wasn’t getting his medication and he says it is prescribed. And he said he wasn’t able to use the funds that he took with him, so he could not call us. He couldn’t purchase food. He says he has lost weight, because they weighed him today at the new facility. It has been a week, but it has been a difficult week for him and especially a difficult week for our family.