The FBI is disputing a Texas truck driver's assertion that an FBI agent interviewed him about an Arab-American friend, asking questions the truck driver said suggested that the friend was a terrorist.
After conducting an investigation of the account--published by The Times Jan. 24 as the lead anecdote of a report on the FBI's controversial questioning of Arab-Americans--Assistant FBI Director William M. Baker said he is certain that no FBI agent interviewed Paul Bohn, the truck driver, until after the story appeared. Baker said he is convinced that the Bohn version was concocted.
The Times story quoted Bohn as saying he was called off his job to go to the Grapevine, Tex., Police Department for an interview with the FBI. Victor Nasser, manager of a San Diego law firm and an active Republican, is the Arab-American the FBI was interested in, Bohn told The Times.
After the story appeared, Bobby R. Oakley, an agent in the bureau's Dallas field office, interviewed Bohn "to determine if Bohn was the victim of an FBI impersonation," according to Oakley's written summary of the session, and Bohn said he had not been pulled off his job for an FBI interview.
Bohn told the FBI, according to the summary, that he had talked to Nasser the night before the story appeared, along with other friends from an Arab-American organization, but that he had no idea how his name ended up in The Times.
However, Bohn, contacted again by The Times, said he sticks by the account he gave The Times: "I haven't changed my story at all."
Bohn said Oakley "let it be known they could cause all sorts of trouble for me in this small town." Bohn said he told the FBI to "say whatever they wanted to," that he didn't want to make trouble.
Oakley disputed Bohn's account of the post-story interview. Responding to a question by the special agent in charge of the Dallas field office, Oakley "indicated he made no threats to Paul Lee Bohn, nor was there any mention of a 'small town,' " according to a Feb. 13 FBI memo on the matter.