ACLU: Government Spying on Americans

Documents obtained by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the FBI is using its Joint Terrorism Task Forces to gather extensive information about peaceful organizations. Recently, President Bush acknowledged giving explicit and secret authorization for warrantless electronic eavesdropping and physical searches by the National Security Agency. Now, there is reason to believe that the Pentagon, too, is illegally gathering and sharing private and protected information.

The ACLU reports:

The American Civil Liberties Union and its affiliates across the country have filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to uncover the extent of Pentagon spying on innocent Americans. We already know through news reports that the Pentagon has collected information in a secret database on peace groups and anti-war protesters.

And then, on March 14, 2006:

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Pennsylvania today released new evidence that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting investigations into a political organizations based solely on its anti-war views.

Two documents released today reveal that the FBI investigated gatherings of the Thomas Merton Center for Peace & Justice just because the organization opposed the war in Iraq. Although previously disclosed documents show that the FBI is retaining files on anti-war groups, these documents are the first to show conclusively that the rationale for FBI targeting is the group’s opposition to the war.

The documents come to the ACLU as a result of a national campaign to expose domestic spying by the FBI and other government agencies. The ACLU has filed Freedom of Information Act requests in 20 states on behalf of more than 150 organizations and individuals. In response to these requests, the government has released documents that reveal monitoring and infiltration by the FBI and local law enforcement, targeting political, environmental, anti-war and faith-based groups.

Click the headline for the rest of this chilling report, statements by individual targets and a multipage dissertation on these continuing abuses.

I first mentioned government spying on journalists in this piece, and in a follow-up piece here.

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