Tuesday, December 20, 2005

FBI keeping files on activist groups again

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The New York Times reported today that, as they did under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI is watching activist groups (all of which, from the report, appear to be leftist, of course). Their counterterrorist agents are keeping tabs on Greenpeace and the Catholic Workers, among many others. The ACLU just released some documents, requested under the Freedom of Information Act. In the article "F.B.I. Watched Activist Groups, New Files Show" (12/20/05), Eric Lichtblau reports:
Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.

F.B.I. officials said Monday that their investigators had no interest in monitoring political or social activities and that any investigations that touched on advocacy groups were driven by evidence of criminal or violent activity at public protests and in other settings....

But the documents, coming after the Bush administration's confirmation that President Bush had authorized some spying without warrants in fighting terrorism, prompted charges from civil rights advocates that the government had improperly blurred the line between terrorism and acts of civil disobedience and lawful protest.

It's seeming less likely that that U-Mass student was making up his story about DHS agents questioning him about an ILL request for a communist book. But with each new report of another example of the Bush administration overstepping its bounds and violating the constitutional rights of its citizens, I keep expecting huge outcries, talk of impeachment, and so on. And I don't hear it. Yet. I've written my rep in congress. Have you?

(link to the New York Times article. Should be there for a couple weeks, but free registration required, or go here.)

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