First Published: Berkeley Barb, October 22, 1965.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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“I got stopped by the FBI Tuesday night,” Steve Cherkoss, organizer of East Bay’s Anti-Draft Committee, told BARB this week.
Cherkoss was on his way to the VDC general meeting on campus at 7:25. Two men were seated in a car parked near College and Haste. One of them yelled, “Steve! I want to speak to you. Steve! Steve! Cherkoss! Cherkoss!”
Cherkoss walked a few steps more and finally stopped. He had just left his home on Haste Street.
The men identified themselves as FBI agents by showing their badges. They told Cherkoss they wanted to also a few questions.
Steve replied, “I’m late for a meeting. I don’t care to answer any of your questions. I have no business with you.”
“They acted very slick,” Steve told BARB. “One asked how I’ve been.”
The other asked, Steve reported, “Aren’t you a member of the VDC Steering Committee?”
“I’m not going to tell you anything at all,” Cherkoss replied. “I do not wish to comment.”
The FBI agent persisted, “Are you a member of Progressive Labor? How does PL fit in with VDC? What’s the connection between them?” Steve didn’t answer.
“I didn’t know them although I may have seen them in demonstrations,” Cherkoss explained. “One had sunglasses and another took his off as he approached me. It was after sundown.”
Then they played “Mutt and Jeff” as Cherkoss put it. One was the Bad Guy and the other the Good Guy.
Bad Guy: “We can conduct this questioning somewhere else and we might not be so nice.”
Good Guy to Bad Guy: “Easy. Steve’s going to cooperate. He’s a nice guy.”
Steve: “I’m not going to cooperate at all. If you want to take me in, do it now – else I’m on my way to the meeting.”
Bad Guy (threateningly as Steve breaks away): “We’ll be seeing you again.”
A friend, Steve Fox, who remained in Cherkoss’ apartment, reports that a half hour after Cherkoss left, he heard noises at the front door as though someone were trying to “jimmy” it. He called out and went to the door, but the intruder had vanished.