By RYAN ABBOTT
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – The federal government is stalking a former contractor because Google auto-completed his intended search: “How do I build a radio controlled airplane?” to the unfortunate query “How do I build a radio controlled bomb?” the man claims in court.
Jeffrey Kantor, who was fired by Appian Corporation, sued a host of government officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry in Federal Court, alleging civil rights violations, disclosure of private information and retaliation.
“In October of 2009, Kantor used the search engine Google to try to find, ‘How do I build a radio-controlled airplane,'” he states in his complaint. “He ran this search a couple weeks before the birthday of his son with the thought of building one together as a birthday present. After typing, ‘how do I build a radio controlled’, Google auto-completed his search to, ‘how do I build a radio controlled bomb.'”
Kantor claims that unfortunate incident sparked the government’s bizarre campaign of harassment against him that ultimately got him fired.
The only defendants in the lawsuit are the federal agencies and their directors.
Kantor claims he was visited at work by government investigators who took a “good cop/bad cop” approach with him, with the “bad cop” making “anti-Semitic comments repeatedly over the course of five months.”
He claims government officials monitored his book purchases and home computer, and implied that everything he did was being monitored.
“Kantor’s coworkers at the Army, including Northrop Grumman contractors Quem Lumi, Stephanie Buchner and Mike Steinbeck, would repeat back Kantor’s private information, including emails, websites he went to, library books he got from the library, conversations he made in his house or in his car, phone calls, information about the contents of his house, and then someone would immediately say that there is a person who dropped dead from hypertension,” the complaint states.
Kantor believes these conversations were veiled death threats.
He says he complained about the threats to the Anti-Defamation League, a move that he claims garnered retaliation from the government in the form of more death threats.
“If Kantor ever got angry after his private information was repeated back (by slamming a cabinet or typing loudly on his computer), the [subcontractor] CRGT and Northrop Grumman employees would tell the same story about how there was a neighbor in their community who seemed like such a nice guy, but then went on a murder suicide,” the complaint states. “If Mr. Kantor stayed calm after they repeated back his private information, they would instead spend the hour talking about how people drop dead from hypertension. This happened every day for almost three months.”
Kantor claims the stalking spilled over into his personal life when the government secretly attached a GPS antenna to his car to track him.
He claims that after he lost his job with Appian, the harassment and stalking continued when he went to work for other contractors that assigned him to projects working with the federal government.
He also sued Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, EPA Administrator Regina McCarthy and U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta.
He seeks $13.8 million in compensatory damages and $45 million in punitive damages, and an injunction ordering the government to stop stalking him.
He is represented by Stephen Swift of Swift & Swift.