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TravelGolf.com Writer Victim Of FBI Blunder

SARASOTA, Fla. – If Joe Bruno wasn't a big fan of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the nation's federal crime fighting wing did little to improve its standing with the 53-year-old former New York City native last Sunday morning.

Bruno, a Senior Writer with TravelGolf.com, was in his office reading Sunday morning around 9 when he said his wife, Nancy Kilgallen, came in and told him that the FBI was at the front door.

"Stop fooling around; I am busy," Bruno said he replied jokingly to Kilgallen.

But when his wife insisted that she wasn't joking, Bruno went to the front door, only to find Federal Agent David Street. Street informed Bruno that two of the pilots of the highjacked planes that crashed into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11 had used Bruno's license plate number when checking into an Atlanta area hotel.

"I thought he was joking at first," Bruno said. "I looked at his badge and was tempted to say, ‘you know, in Times Square I could get 10 of those badges in five minutes.'"

Bruno eventually realized that Street was not joking, and he opened his garage door to show Street his two cars: a 1993 green Lincoln Continental and a 1992 red Chrysler Lebaron convertible. Bruno said Street then pointed to the Lebaron and said "That's the plate they used, only they listed it as a red Chrysler Caravan."
Monday morning, Street called Bruno to inform him that there had been a mistake in transcribing the license plate number from the hotel in Atlanta. Two digits had been transposed and that were not on Bruno's plates.

Bruno, a Vietnam Veteran and boxing writer, took the whole incident in stride.

"It is official, I am not a terrorist," Bruno said. "I have as much chance of being a terrorist as I have dunking over Shaquille O'Neal."
Bruno did say, however, that the incident has shaken his faith in the FBI and their ability to oversee such a complex operation as tracking down international terrorists within our countries' borders.

"Although Agent Street was very respectful, for the past several years the FBI has been a cross between the Keystone Cops and the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight, commanded by Inspector Clousseau," Bruno said.

"Ask any New York City cop and they'll tell you the same thing. Remember Ruby Ridge and Waco? If they can't even get a license plate number right, how could we have expected them to catch terrorists before they strike?"
Both Bruno and Kilgallen were offered informal apologies from the Bureau.

"I said thanks (for the apology)," Bruno said. "But I will be sending the FBI the bill for the case of Rolaids I consumed in the past 24 hours."

 
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