ACLU: FBI Confuses Protest and Terrorism

August 3 2005, 3:23 PM

The ACLU has obtained some new documents from the FBI through a Freedom of Information Act request. After reviewing them, ACLU director Mark Silverstein charges that the FBI is conducting surveillance of legitimate protest groups in the name of the war on terror.

The three latest documents -- all unsigned and heavily redacted -- show the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force opening an investigation of peace groups that traveled to Colorado Springs for a demonstration on Feb. 15, 2003. The groups included the Boulder-based Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, which practices nonviolence. Citing information on the Internet, FBI agents believed the demonstration might attract more radical elements who could become disruptive. A July 2000 FBI document links the Peace and Justice Center to people who were seen videotaping a Lockheed-Martin facility in Boulder. The memo said an informant believed the taping was in preparation for a demonstration, but does not refer to possible violence. The FBI also prepared a document in June, 2002, titled "Columbus Day Threats," warning of possible disruption of the Columbus Day parade that year by anarchist groups from around the country. The memo cited informants and Web information.

The FBI denies the charge. You can read the documents for yourself here.