Police trace RNC security leak to Kinko's

Anti-war protest
Anti-war protesters show the peace sign to police and journalists on John Ireland Blvd. near downtown St. Paul during the final day of the Republican National Convention.
MPR Photo/Bill Alkofer

(AP) - A search warrant indicates that police traced a security leak ahead of the Republican National Convention to a FedEx/Kinko's shop in St. Paul.

A company helping police prepare for the convention went to the shop to copy training documents. Those documents later turned up on the Web site of an anarchist group that promised to "crash the convention."

Defense Technology of Casper, Wyo., had ordered copies of training materials for "law enforcement use only" at the Kinko's on July 28, according to the search warrant and supporting affidavit.

The company sells chemical grenades, "distraction devices" and a "less-lethal instructor certification," according to court papers.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!

Police -- believing someone at the shop could have made the materials available to the anarchists -- narrowed their search to a shop employee. That 31-year-old employee has not been charged with a crime.

FedEx spokeswoman Sandra Munoz said the man is "no longer employed with us."

His apartment was searched a week before the start of the Republican convention. Police found thumb drives, a laptop computer, two hard drives and a digital camera. They also found a small amount of suspected marijuana.

The man initially told police he might have made a digital copy of the material to give to someone else. It's not clear if he directly transferred the material to the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group that described itself as an anarchist, anti-authoritarian group.

The group advocated transportation blockades in downtown St. Paul during the convention and said on its Web site, "We didn't get an invitation, but we're showing up anyway."

St. Paul police officials would not discuss the role of Defense Technology in convention security arrangements. Spokesman Tom Walsh said it is common for police to take materials to Kinko's and other copy centers and that the department has a contract with the company.

Munoz, the FedEx spokeswoman, said the company considered the document transfer "a serious breach" of its ethics code.

"Any client - I don't care, quite frankly, if it's a card for your grandmother," she said. "Those are important documents. We want our customers to understand that everything they give us" is private.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)