FBI agents responding to a terrorist threat which allegedly originated from the Newton Free Library would have immediately been given access to library e-mail records last month if it agents were operating under a state of emergency, but the need was apparently not that great, library and the FBI officials both say.
Library Director Kathy Glick-Weil told the TAB this week that she would have stepped aside on Jan. 18 if law enforcement officials needed quick access after tracing a terrorist threat sent by e-mail to Brandeis University to a computer at the library.
Earlier, an FBI spokesman said agents decided not to invoke their right to promptly seize the material in order to “be cooperative and not inconvenience the library” after determining that obtaining the computers was not urgent.
The comments from both sides involved follow a week when the investigation tossed the library into the larger ongoing national debate over privacy rights and the need for law enforcement to act quickly in the event of a terrorist activity. Talk show hosts, TV newscasts and the editorial pages of both of Boston’s daily newspapers all weighed in.