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UNORTHODOX FBI Invited Westboro Church to Base Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

FBI Invited Westboro Church to Base

There aren’t many places the Westboro Baptist Church—the fringe group that pickets soldiers’ funerals with hate speech—can get a warm welcome. But the FBI asked Pastor Fred Phelps and his gang to Quantico Marine Base in Virginia for training agents on how to stay calm when dealing with a witness or suspect with whom they would “have a strong, visceral disagreement.” Westboro wasn’t paid for the sessions, but the bureau quickly deep-sixed the arrangement anyway. Westboro’s visit was controversial within the FBI, with some 200 agents and officers sending a memo asking why the church had been brought in.

June 29, 2011 4:08 PM