Thursday, January 26, 2006

FBI, DoD, NSA: All Spying on You

Over the last several months, it has been revealed that the FBI, the Pentagon and the National Security Agency have each set up apparently independent covert operations to monitor the constitutionally protected political activities of citizens opposed to the Bush administration's war in Iraq.
According to records obtained by the ACLU under a Freedom Of Information Act request, the FBI's targets included people involved in a "vegan community project" in Indianapolis, the Catholic Worker movement and its "semi-communistic ideology," Code Pink, the anti-war coalition United for Peace and Justice, Greenpeace and attendees of the Third National Organizing Conference on Iraq, which was held at Stanford University in May 2005. According to the documents, in some cases the FBI received information about those under surveillance from informers within the targeted groups.
Over at the Pentagon, the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) office, which was established in 2002, now employees more than 1,000 people. According to the Washington Post, CIFA has what the military calls "tasking authority" over the 4,000 people who work in Army, Navy and Air Force intelligence units. What CIFA does is not exactly clear, but in December, NBC reported it had "obtained a secret Pentagon database that indicates the U.S. military is collecting information on American peace activists and monitoring protests against the Iraq war." A document stamped "secret" reports, "We have noted increased communication between protest groups using the Internet," but not a "significant connection" between incidents, such as "recurring instigators" or "vehicle descriptions," which suggests the Pentagon has been monitoring e-mail and tracking anti-war activists by the cars they drive. The document is 400 pages long and lists 1,500 "suspicious incidents across the country over a 10-month period," including "four dozen anti-war meetings or protests, including one in Hollywood."
Every thousand man-hours spent monitoring Quaker peace groups and Vegans is time and money that could have been spent on protecting our country from terrorism.


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