If an Agent Knocks – Federal Investigators & Your Rights

The FBI does not have the authority to make anyone answer questions (other than name and address [see errata]), to permit a search without a warrant, or to otherwise cooperate with an investigation. Agents are usually lawyers, and they are always trained as investigators; they have learned the power of persuasion, the ability to make a person feel scared, guilty, or impolite for refusing their requests for information. So remember, they have no legal authority to force people to do anything — unless they have obtained an arrest or search warrant. Even when agents do have warrants, you still don’t have to answer their question.

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