POLICE COMMISSIONER Sylvester Johnson knew that the FBI was intending to plant a bug in Mayor Street's office about a month before the electronic device was discovered, according to a source close to the investigation.
Johnson, who has a long-standing relationship with the federal agency, had received a telephone call from an FBI official warning him of the unprecedented action by federal investigators.
And before the city's top cop had Street's office swept for listening devices on Oct. 7, 2003, Johnson made several calls to the FBI, telling them when the sweep would occur and urging them to remove any bugs beforehand.
Last September, the name of Karen Simmons, Johnson's departmental legal adviser, surfaced as the person who had tipped off the Street administration to the possible presence of a bug. Through an attorney, she has denied any involvement.
What Simmons knew and how she found it out is unclear, but Johnson has told federal investigators that he had kept secret the impending bugging and ongoing investigation, according to the source. But then, in early October, mayoral spokeswoman Barbara Grant and Street's top aide, George Burrell, left City Hall for a walk, during which Grant told Burrell that she'd learned the mayor's office might be bugged.
Burrell passed the information on to Johnson with a request to sweep the office.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Daily News article about prior Street's prior knowledge of the FBI bug.