*An American does not have to speak with a government agent unless the citizen has been arrested, even then there is the Right to have your counsel of choice present
.*American Citizens have a right to privacy in their life, property and papers.
*The PRIVACY ACT OF 1974 (Public Law 93-579), empowers Citizens to require full, written disclosure from any government official who seeks information from them.
*You may insist on complete disclosure as a precondition to speaking with any government official.

The Limits On Federal Power:
*Law-abiding citizens are sometimes visited by agents of the Federal government for no apparent reason. It is helpful, at the time of these visits, to recall that unless a citizen has been placed under arrest (either because a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe the citizen has committed a crime or because the officer has in his possession an arrest warrant issued by a judge who believes there is probable cause the citizen has committed a crime, a citizen does not have to entertain the company of government agents.

*Citizens also have the right, guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, not to testify against themselves. Thus, when "the government" comes knocking on one¹s door, you have the right to simply say, "Please go away." Unless the government officer places you under arrest (there must be probable cause, or an arrest warrant based on probable cause), the officer must obey your wishes.

Be Helpful.... On Your Terms

*Of course, citizens also have a vested interest in assisting "the government" in its role of crime-solver. Most of us understand the need to help "the government" to apprehend criminals. But it is also helpful, when "the government" arrives at your place of employment or at your home, to know how to find out why government agents have appeared on YOUR doorstep.

*A handy little questionnaire that I came across years ago will do the trick. It¹s called the "Public Servant Questionnaire." A version accompanies this article. The "PSQ" was developed by Lynn Johnston, author of Who's Afraid of the IRS? (Libertarian Review Foundation: 1983, ISBN 0-930073-03-7).

*The PSQ is based on the requirements placed upon the government by the Privacy Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-579), an amending law to Title 5, United States Code, Section 552, and is included as Section 552a.

*If a citizen chooses to cooperate with government officials who are seeking information, BEFORE questioning begins, the citizen should politely inform the government agent or agents that a prerequisite for the citizen's cooperation with "the government" is the agent¹s cooperation with the citizen.

Do It Right, The First Time

*The questions should then be put to each agent, and the citizen should enter the answers onto the questionnaire. Copies should be provided to each agent, either at the time of the questioning or by mail to the agent after the visit. The questionnaire informs the government agent that the citizen knows his rights and knows which limited powers the government agent has been granted by the people.

*Most probably some government agents will not want to fill out or sign the PSQ. That¹s fine. They can then be sent on their merry way. They may need to explain to their superiors, and a court of law, and a jury, on another day, why they refused to cooperate with the reasonable questions of the highest officeholder in the land, a citizen.


Public Law 93-579 states in part: "The purpose of this Act is to provide certain safeguards for an individual against invasion of personal privacy requiring Federal agencies... to permit an individual to determine what records pertaining to him are collected, maintained, used or disseminated by such agencies...."

The following questions are based upon that act and are necessary for this individual to make a reasonable determination concerning divulgence of information to this agency. [Write on back of these pages if more space is needed to fully answer this questionnaire.]

1. Full Name of public servant: __________________________________________________ _________

2. Domicile address:__________________________________________ ____________________________

City: __________________________________ State: ______________________ Zip: __________

3. Name of department of government, bureau, or agency by which public servant is employed: __________________________________________________ ________________________________________

Supervisor¹s name, position % contact telephone number: ************************__________________________ __________________________________________________ ______________

4. Office mail address:__________________________________________ __________________________

City: ____________________________________ State: _____________________ Zip: _________

5. Will this public servant uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, “The Supreme Law of The Land”? Yes__ No__ Refuse To Answer__

6. Can this public servant guarantee that no violations of any God-given, unalienable and Constitutionally secured Rights are being abrogated by their actions/investigation or by the cooperation of this Citizen? Yes__ No__ Refuse To Answer__

7. Did the public servant furnish a delegation of authority and proof of their identity before proceeding with their actions/investigation? Yes__ No__ Refuse To Answer__

8. What was the nature of proof? ID No.: _________________________________________________
Badge No.: ____________________________ Driver License No.:_______________________________

9. Will public servant furnish a copy of the law or regulation which authorizes their actions/investigation? Yes__ No__ Don’t Know__ Refuse To Answer__

10. Will the public servant read aloud that portion of the law authorizing the questions he will ask? Yes__ No__ Don’t Know__ Refuse To Answer__

11. Are the Citizen's answers and cooperation Voluntary?__ Mandatory?__ Don’t Know?__

12. Are the actions to be taken and/or questions to be asked based upon a specific law or regulation? __ or are they being used as an investigative discovery process? __

13. What other uses may be made of this information?
__________________________________________________ ________________________________________
__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

14. What other agencies may have access to this information?
__________________________________________________ ________________________________________
__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

15. Describe any actions that may be taken against this Citizen should I choose not to cooperate with or to be a part of your investigation/actions?
__________________________________________________ ________________________________________
__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

16. Name of person in government requesting that this investigation/actions be made? __________________________________________________ __________________________

17. Is this investigation/action "general?__ or is it “special”?__

[Note: "General" means any kind of blanket investigation in which a number of persons are involved because of geography, type of business, sex, religion, race, schooling, income, etc. "Special" means any investigation of an individual nature directed specifically at this Citizen.]

18. Have you or your agency consulted, questioned, interviewed, or received information from any third party relative to this investigation or to this Citizen?
Yes__ No__ Don’t Know__ Refuse To Answer__

If yes to item 18, identity all such third parties.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________
__________________________________________________ __________________________________

19. Do you reasonably anticipate either a civil or criminal action to be initiated or pursued based upon any of the information which you seek?
Yes__ No__ Don’t Know__ Refuse To Answer__

20. Is there a file of records, information, or correspondence relating to this Citizen being maintained by this agency? Yes__ No__ Don’t Know__ Refuse To Answer__

21. Is this agency using any information pertaining to this Citizen which was supplied by another agency or government source? Yes__ No__ Don’t Know__ Refuse To Answer__

If yes, which agencies and/or sources? _________________________________________________

22. Will the public servant guarantee that the information in these files will not be used by any other department other than the one by whom they are employed?
Yes__ No__ Refuse To Answer__

23. Did the public servant make a written or verbal (telephone) request for permission to come onto Citizen’s private property. Yes__ No__ Refuse To Answer__

24. Has public servant been versed in the “No Trespassing” laws of The State of Texas?

Yes__ No__ Refuse To Answer__


I declare under penalty of perjury under the Laws of The United States of America that the answers I have given to the foregoing questions are true and correct. (Reference: 28 USC 1746(1))

__________________________________________________ ___________
Signature of public servant engaged in actions or investigation

(Must be signed in ink. This signature should be witnessed by two people. Citizen may administer an oath if he or she so desires.)

Witness: __________________________________________________ __________

Signature of Citizen

Witness: __________________________________________________ __________

Signature of Citizen

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