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Philadelphia mayor: 'I'm not the target' of investigation

Philadelphia Mayor John Street
Philadelphia Mayor John Street

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(CNN) -- Philadelphia Mayor John Street -- whose office was bugged by the FBI, sources told CNN -- said Thursday that he is not the target of a federal investigation.

The Democratic mayor -- in a tough re-election fight with Republican Sam Katz -- spoke about the bugging incident Thursday with CNN's Bill Hemmer.

STREET: I'm having a great day. I always believe in having great days.

HEMMER: Yes, tell us why this is a great day.

STREET: Well, because I -- it has been confirmed by the U.S. attorney that I'm not the target of any federal investigation and that's very important to me. I've been an elected official now for 24 years and I value my integrity very highly and this speculation about whether or not I'm a target of any federal investigation has caused some concern and to now have that part of this thing cleared up is very important to me.

HEMMER: When did you get that news?

STREET: Well, I got that news late yesterday afternoon, having spoken to a friend and an adviser, Arthur Makadon, who spoke to representatives of the U.S. attorney's office that confirmed that I am not the target of any investigation. I would have preferred that the U.S. attorney or someone from the FBI or somebody else confirmed that a lot earlier, but better late than never.

HEMMER: There are reports in Philadelphia, in your hometown newspaper, The Inquirer, that indicate that you were told early on that you weren't a target. Is that not true?

STREET: Well, that is not really true. I always believed that I was not a target and, but I needed to have that confirmed from the appropriate people in the U.S. attorney's office, and that has happened now. And I'm very grateful for that.

HEMMER: Mr. Mayor, why was there a bug in your office?

STREET: I don't know, and I don't know that I'll ever know. There could be investigations going on at any particular time in any city in this country because there is an obligation on the part of many, many authorities to investigate allegations of impropriety.

My concern is that I have 25 years of impeccable service. I've never been the subject, as far as I know, of any investigation of any kind, and I want the people of this city to know that my primary concern is representing them to improve the quality of life for people in the neighborhoods and do the things that mayors are elected to do.

There is a huge amount of suspicion, however, about the planting of a bug in the mayor's office at this time, under these circumstances, and I think some of those suspicions will remain.

HEMMER: Let me get on two topics here that were really floating around your city yesterday. A spokesperson for your campaign -- again, you're running for re-election that'll take place on the 4th of November. You're in a tough, tough battle right now.

Listen to what your campaign spokesperson said yesterday about the Republican Party: "Do we believe the Republican Party is pulling out every stop to get Pennsylvania in 2004? Absolutely? Is the Republican Party capable of dirty tricks? I think that is well documented." That's from Frank Keel.

Did you agree with those statements when they were given yesterday?

STREET: Well, I don't, I was not privy to those statements and -- but I think that Mr. Keel is just simply representing the view of a lot of people in our city who are very concerned about this whole bugging incident and the way it was reported out of the U.S. attorney's office and the fact that it was done in a way that left this huge cloud of suspicion over the mayor and seemed to exonerate my Republican opponent's campaign from having any involvement in it. And people are concerned about it.

We -- this is a very important election for our city, commonwealth and country, and I think many people believe that it is not beneath some officials to get involved in dirty tricks.

HEMMER: So your suggestion is that Republicans may have planted this after all? You're not backing away from that?

STREET: Well, I'm -- what I'm saying is that I believe people are very, very concerned about this and I think they are, they have a right to be concerned about it because this is a very, very important election. I don't have any direct information that would cause me to be able to say clearly, but the timing of all of this is very suspicious.

HEMMER: One more thought here. There are at least two investigations under way in your city. One involves a contract at the local airport that is connected to a company that is run by your brother. Is that the source of the bug and the investigation that you found this past Tuesday?

STREET: I have no idea. But, you know, there -- this whole thing with this contract out at the airport is now a part of the speculation that takes place when this kind of thing happens. And to the extent that people wish for folks to go on these kind of fishing expeditions ... to try to figure all this out is a part of the kind of thing that has people in our city concerned about the fairness ... and timing of all this.


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