Spying on First Amendment Activity - State-by-State

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United States law enforcement agencies, from the FBI to local police, have a long history of spying on American citizens and infiltrating or otherwise obstructing political activist groups. Political spying was rampant during the Cold War under the FBI's COINTELPRO, the CIA's Operation Chaos, and other program.

The following is a state-by-state compilation of examples of these behaviors in recent years.

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  • Alaska

  • Arizona

  • California

    • California

      Incident Reports
    • FBI Infiltration of Islamic Center. An FBI agent testified in court in 2009 that an informant had been planted at an Islamic Center in Irvine, California. Surveillance has prompted some Muslims to avoid mosques and cut charitable contributions out of fear of being questioned or branded as 'extremists.'
      (http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-04-21-muslim-surveillance_N.htm and http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=87254§ionid=3510203)
    • Los Angeles Police Department Reporting Policy. LAPD Special Order #11, dated March 5, 2008 includes a list of 65 behaviors LAPD officers 'shall' report. The list includes such innocuous, clearly subjective, and First Amendment-protected activities as, taking measurements, using binoculars, taking pictures or video footage 'with no apparent esthetic value,' drawing diagrams, taking notes, and espousing extremist views.
      (http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusion_update_20080729.pdf and Appendix B at http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/mccarecommendation-06132008.pdf)
    • California Office of Homeland Security Reports on Peaceful Protests. In 2006, the LA Times gained access to California Office of Homeland Security reports detailing information about political demonstrations throughout California including an animal rights rally outside a Canadian consulate office in San Francisco to protest the hunting of seals, a demonstration in Walnut Creek at which government officials spoke against the war in Iraq, and a Women's International League for Peace and Freedom gathering at a courthouse in support of a 56-year-old Salinas woman facing federal trespassing charges.
      (http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jul/01/local/me-security1, http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusion_update_20080729.pdf)
    • Santa Cruz Police Infiltration of DIY New Year's Parade. When the city of Santa Cruz decided to cancel their annual 'First Night' New Year's Parade, community activists decided to create their own parade, the Do It Yourself
      (DIY) New Year's Parade. Police found out about parade plans in late October 2005 and decided to spy on the group by infiltrating their parade planning meetings. Police Chief Howard Skerry promised a complete investigation but tapped Deputy Chief Vogel - the very person who authorized the infiltration - to determine whether the authorization was appropriate. Not surprisingly, Vogel's report cleared the Santa Cruz Police Department of any wrongdoing.
      (http://www.aclusantacruz.org/node/76)
    • California National Guard Monitoring of Mothers' Day Peaceful Protest. On May 5, 2005, a member of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's press office, informed California National Guard officials that members of CODEPINK, Gold Star Families for Peace, and others were planning to 'mark Mother's Day urging the Governor and Legislature to support bringing California National Guardsmen home from Iraq by Labor Day. The information was then forwarded up the chain of command and National Guard intelligence staff was asked to monitor the event.
      (https://www.aclu-sc.org/downloads/89/773257.pdf)
    • Military Monitors Campus Anti-Recruiting Protests. Two Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notices
      (TALON) from April 2005 describe anti-recruiting protests by students at the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Santa Cruz. The source for both TALON reports, a 'special agent of the federal protective service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security,' relayed protest information he received through email alerts.
      (http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/DODAntiWarProtestDatabaseTracker.pdf and http://www.aclu.org/national-security/statement-konstanty-hordynski-target-illegal-spying)
    • Undercover Campus and County Sheriffs Attend Cal State Fresno Lecture on Veganism. On November 10, 2004, the California State Fresno student group Campus Peace and Civil Liberties Coalition
      (CPCLC) hosted an on-campus lecture by a speaker formerly employed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
      (PETA). The lecturer addressed approximately 60 people about the benefits of a vegan diet. Six of those 60 attendees were undercover police officers - three from the county sheriff's department and three from the campus police department.
      (pg. 16, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf?ht=)
    • Military Monitors Peaceful Anti-War Protest. A November 2004 Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) report addressed a 'protest against the Iraq war . . . planned by a Sacramento chapter of a U.S. domestic group at the Sacramento Military Entrance Processing Station.' The San Francisco Joint Terrorism Taskforce
      (JTTF) had advised commanders of the San Francisco and San Jose stations of the protests, and notes that 'it appears this protest will most likely be peaceful, but some type of vandalism is always a possibility.'
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
    • The Military Monitors Veterans for Peace Veterans' Day Protest. The Sacramento Chapter of Veterans for Peace
      (VFP)'s 2004 Veteran's Day protest at the Sacramento Military Entrance Processing Station landed them as the first entry on a published Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notices
      (TALON) extract.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/24272res20060227.html)
    • Costa County Sheriff's Homeland Security Unit Officers Infiltrate Union Demonstration. When Southern California Safeway store workers went on strike in 2003-2004, a delegation of religious leaders planned a pilgrimage to the Safeway CEO's home to deliver postcards supporting the striking workers. Sheriff's deputies from Contra Costa County Sheriff's Homeland Security Unit went to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union
      (UFCW), and staff directed them to a contact number on a flyer. Despite the fact that the sheriff's department had been in contact with the pilgrimage organizers - union leaders saw the same sheriff's deputies in plainclothes attending a demonstration at a Safeway store in San Francisco.
      (pg. 16, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf)
    • Fresno County Sheriff's Office Infiltrates Peace Fresno. An undercover Fresno County Sheriff's deputy infiltrated a non-violent activist group, Peace Fresno, attending meetings and rallies, taking minutes for the group on one occasion and traveling to a demonstration in Sacramento. A Peace Fresno member learned of the infiltration when an obituary in the Fresno Bee revealed the deputy's true identity and identified him as a member of the Fresno County Sheriff's Department's 'anti-terrorist team.'
      (pg. 13, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf)
    • California Anti-Terrorism Information Center Bulletin on Anti-War Protest. On April 7, 2003, the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center
      (CATIC) issued a bulletin warning of violence by demonstrators at an anti-war demonstration at the Port of Oakland. Police responded in an excessive manner, firing wooden dowels at protesters and injuring over 50 people. The public disclosure of that bulletin, a significant follow-up investigation by the Oakland Tribune, and advocacy by the ACLU led Attorney General Bill Lockyer to commission a review of the agency.
      (pg. 6, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf)
    • Oakland Police Department Infiltrates Anti-Police Brutality Demonstration Planning Committee. On May 12, 2003, activists returned to the Port of Oakland for a demonstration against the police response to the April 7 protest. Documents obtained by the ACLU of Northern California during litigation over the original April 7 incident revealed that two undercover Oakland police officers infiltrated the protest planning group and selected 'the route of the march.'
      (pg. 12, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf)
    • Sacramento Police Department Videotapes Peaceful Protestors. On February 15, 2003, peace and justice organizations held a demonstration in Sacramento to protest the then-impending war in Iraq. Approximately 10,000 people attended the peaceful demonstration. The Sacramento Police Department provided security for the event. They also sent a police department employee to videotape the demonstration. Sacramento Police confirmed that taping of the protest was at least partially intended to modify protesters' behavior.
      (pg. 19, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf)
    • California Anti-Terrorism Information Center
      (CATIC)/JTTF Information Sharing on about a Rally at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. On November 8, 2002, CATIC issued a 'Law Enforcement Advisory' about a 'rally' at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Despite the innocuous nature of the demonstration, the bulletin advised law enforcement to contact either the local JTTF or CATIC's Situation Unit with 'any additional information regarding this rally, potential problems occurring with this rally or information regarding any similar situations.'
      (pg. 7, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf)
    • San Francisco Police Infiltrate Anti-War Protests. During the huge protests against the war in Iraq between October 2002 and February 2003, several San Francisco police officers posed as protesters to monitor crowd activities. This infiltration of the protests by undercover officers was never authorized by the chief of police, representing a failure to follow San Francisco's Guidelines for First Amendment Activities.
      (pg. 18, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf)
    • Military Collects Conference Attendees' Contact Information, Including References to Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. A Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) document obtained by the ACLU relates to a May 2002 conference held at Stanford University entitled 'Third National Organizing Conference on Iraq.' The document contains 'a contact list' of attendees and a number of references to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, including the organization's Washington, DC address, phone number, and email.
      (pg. 11, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf)
    • California Anti-Terrorism Information Center
      (CATIC) Issues Warning About Middle Eastern Festivities. In April 2002, CATIC issued an 'Anti-Terrorism, Law Enforcement Advisory,' discussing 'California's vulnerability to violence based on current Middle East Conflict.' The bulletin listed 'events involving Middle Eastern festivities,' including 'the Afghan New Year's Festival in Pleasanton at the Alameda County Fairgrounds' and a 'march against 'War and Racism'' in San Francisco.
      (pg. 6, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf)
    • California Anti-Terrorism Information Center
      (CATIC) Issues Bulletin on International Action Anti-War Protest. Center On November 7, 2001, CATIC issued a bulletin with the heading 'Anti-Terrorism, Terrorism Advisory for Law Enforcement Use Only, Sensitive Information.' The bulletin warned of 'possible war protests' and stated that 'the International Action Center, an anti-war, anti-globalization, and anti-corporation protest advocacy group founded by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, is encouraging individuals to protest the war in Afghanistan in San Francisco.'
      (pg. 6, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf)
    • The Los Angeles County Terrorism Early Warning Center
      (LACTEW) officials Steal Files Pertaining to Surveillance of Muslim Groups. A group of military reservists and law enforcement officers led by the co-founder of the Los Angeles County Terrorism Early Warning Center
      (LACTEW) engaged in a years-long conspiracy to steal highly classified intelligence files from the Strategic Technical Operations Center
      (STOC) located at the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton, California and secret surveillance reports from the U.S. Northern Command headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Some of the stolen files 'pertained to surveillance of Muslim communities in Southern California,' including mosques in L.A. and San Diego, and revealed 'a federal surveillance program targeting Muslim groups' in the United States.
      (http://ww.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080718/news_1m18theft.html)
    • Military Collects Information on Student and Community Peace Groups. The Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) database included information on numerous anti-war and counter-recruitment protests, including campus demonstrations by UC Santa Cruz Students Against War and the UC Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, a Sacramento protest organized by military veterans, and a San Francisco demonstration organized by local activists. The TALON database also designated the level of concern posed by the protest activity.
      (pg. 10, http://www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/asset_upload_file714_3255.pdf and http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/24142res20060214.html)
    • LAPD Disrupts Bicycle Protest of BP Oil Spill. An LAPD officer, claiming to be at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue to ticket cyclists who failed to stop at red lights, kicked at a passing bicyclist during a protest ride against BP's role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
      (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/06/bicyclist-kicked-lapd-video-bp-protest.html)
    • Activists Cry Foul Over FBI Probe. Peace activists and labor organizers who were the target of large-scale FBI raids in September, 2010, and who believe they being improperly targeted as a result of their political activism and speech, are fighting back against the probe by speaking out, organizing and generating grassroots support.
      (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/activists-cry-foul-over-fbi-probe/2011/06/09/AGPRskTH_story.html?hpid=z2)
    • SF cell shutdown: Safety issue, or hint of Orwell? Bay Area Rapid Transit officials infringed on the First Amendment rights of demonstrators by shutting down power to cellular towers in order to disrupt a protest, after learning that the demonstrators intended to coordinate their activities via mobile devices.
      (http://articles.boston.com/2011-08-14/business/29887029_1_free-speech-social-media-bart-officials)
    • Flight Crew Starts Security Alert After 3 Passengers Perform Prayer Ritual On LA-Bound Flight. Report of 'suspicious' activity results in FBI detention and questioning for three Jewish Mexican nationals who engaged in a prayer ritual during a flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles.
      (http://www.washingtonpost.com/pilots-lock-down-cockpit-alert-lax-authorities-after-3-passengers-perform-prayer-on-flight/2011/03/13/ABcQ1lT_story.html)
    • Lawsuit Alleges FBI Violated Muslims’ Freedom Of Religion. A paid FBI informant spied on hundreds of Muslims praying at their Mosques in Southern California to gain information on possible terrorists, and targeted them because of their religion.
      (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/22/AR2011022206975.html)
  • Colorado

    • Colorado

      Incident Reports
    • Federal Protective Service Shares Information on Transform Columbus Day Event. In August 2002, the Federal Protective Service intercepted an email containing information about the Transform Columbus Day events planned for Denver. FPS forwarded the intercepted email to the intelligence unit of the Colorado Springs Police Department as well as the JTTF and the Denver FBI office. The Federal Protective Service forwarded the same email to the Denver Police Department's Intelligence Unit.
      (More »'>http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/fbifiles.htm'>More »)
    • Colorado Springs Police Records and Shares Names and License Plate Numbers of Environmental Activists. Environmentalist and conservationist groups organized a peaceful demonstration at the North American Wholesale Lumber Association's
      (NAWLA) annual convention in Colorado Springs in June 2002. The Colorado Springs police provided the Denver Intelligence Unit with a two-page list of names and license plate numbers of participants in the nonviolent protest. The cover sheet indicates that the list of names and plates would be forwarded to the JTTF, who was apparently expecting the information. An FBI spokesperson admitted that the agency requested the list of plate numbers.
      (http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/fbifiles.htm and http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/24240res20060222.html)
    • Federal Protective Services Intercepts and Shares E-mail about Palestine Rally. An e-mail announcing a rally about Palestine at the state capitol in Denver on April 5, 2002 was intercepted by the Federal Protective Service, which forwarded it to the Denver Police Department Intelligence Unit and the FBI.
      (More »'>http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/fbifiles.htm'>More »)
    • Denver Intelligence Unit Keeps Binder of Activist Organizations. A 3-ring binder maintained by the Denver Intelligence Unit contains a section labeled "Colorado and Local Links: JTTF Active Case List." The pages in that section consist of printouts made in April 2002 from the web sites of such local Colorado groups as Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace, American Friends Service Committee, Denver Justice and Peace Committee, Rocky Mountain Independent Media Center, and the Human Bean Company.
      (More »'>http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/fbifiles.htm'>More »)
    • JTTF Adds Environmental Extremists and Black Extremists to VGTOF. In anticipation of the 2002 Olympics, the JTTF added "anarchists" and eight separate categories of "extremists"
      (such as "environmental extremist" and "Black extremist") to the FBI's Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File
      (VGTOF). When patrol officers check the name of a driver or a suspect in the National Crime Information Center
      (NCIC), the VGTOF database is automatically searched, too.
      (Ann Davis, "Data Collection Is Up Sharply Following 9/11," Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2003, at B1. and More »'>http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/fbifiles.htm'>More »)
    • Colorado University Bolder Police Department Intercepts and Shares E-mail about Fur Free Friday. An e-mail sent to members of Rocky Mountain Animal Defense about Fur Free Friday, dated November 7, 2001, was intercepted by the Colorado University Boulder police department. CUBPD forwarded it to the Denver Police Department Intelligence Unit and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
      (More »'>http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/fbifiles.htm'>More »)
    • Colorado University Bolder Police Department Intercepts and Shares E-mail About Aspen Event Meeting. On July 13, 2000, an activist's email to the Direct Action Network and the Waake-up list announcing an informational meeting to discuss events that the Aspen Institute was sponsoring the following month was email was intercepted by the Colorado University Boulder police department, who quickly forwarded it to the Denver Police Department's Intelligence Unit.
      (More »'>http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/fbifiles.htm'>More »)
    • Intelligence Bureau Information Summary Includes Information on Individual Handing Out Flyers About a Documentary Criticizing the FBI. The Oct. 19, 1999 Intelligence Bureau Information Summary included information on an individual handing out flyers advertising a screening of a documentary that criticizes the FBI. A handwritten note indicated the report would be faxed to the JTTF.
      (More »'>http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/fbifiles.htm'>More »)
    • JTTF and Denver Intelligence Unit Monitor Protest of Serbia Bombing. In April 1999, FBI JTTF agent, joined by two members of the Denver Intelligence Unit, monitored two peaceful demonstrations protesting the NATO bombing of Serbia. Detectives followed one participant to her car three blocks away to get her license number so she could be identified.
      (More »'>http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/fbifiles.htm'>More »)
    • JTTF Interest in Food Not Bombs. A memo released pursuant to an ACLU FOIA requests indicates an ongoing federal interest, through the FBI JTTF, in Food Not Bombs, a Colorado group that provides free vegetarian food to hungry people and protests war and poverty.
      (More »'>http://www.aclu.org/spyfiles/idaho_pressrelease.pdf'>More »)
  • Connecticut

    • Connecticut

      Incident Reports
    • Activist Arrested for Photographing Governor at Public Event. Hartford Police arrested political activist after he photographed Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell at a public event. Connecticut State Police monitored the activist’s blog, which was critical of the Governor, and sent local police his photograph as a potential threat to the Governor.
      (http://www.the40yearplan.com/CNN_on_Fusion_Centers.php)
    • Activist Claims State Police Engaged in Political Spying Online. The activist who was arrested for photographing Governor Jodi Rell at a public event alleges in court documents that State Police used phony e-mail identities to subscribe to bulletin boards and e-mail lists of political parties, such as the Green Party and the Democratic Party, and advocacy groups such as the Central Connecticut State University Progressive Student Alliance Committee.
      (http://www.courant.com/shopping/hc-krayeske-charges-police-1220.artdec20,0,3377048.column)
  • District of Columbia

    • Washington DC

      Incident Reports
    • DC City Council Report Reveals Metropolitan Police Department Failed to Protect Privacy, First Amendment Rights of Protesters. In March 2004, a Committee of the DC City Council reported the Metropolitan Police Department used undercover officers to infiltrate protest groups without evidence of criminal wrongdoing, repeatedly took pre-emptive actions to prevent demonstrations, including arrests, and failed to protect the free speech and assembly rights of protesters.
      (http://epic.org/privacy/surveillance/spotlight/1205/mpdrep5304.pdf).
    • DHS Tracks Anti-War Group. DHS tracked the protest plans of the DC Anti-War Network
      (DAWN), a peaceful antiwar group, and passed the information to the Maryland State Police, which had previously labeled the activists as terrorists in an intelligence file.
      (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/16/AR2009021601131_pf.html)
    • FBI Bulletin on Anti-War Protests. On October 15, 2003, the FBI issued Intelligence Bulletin no. 89, entitled 'Tactics Used During Protests and Demonstrations.' Bulletin 89 advised that 'mass marches and rallies against the occupation in Iraq' were scheduled to occur on October 25, 2003, in Washington, D.C, and San Francisco, and although the FBI had no information indicating that 'violent or terrorist activities [were] being planned as part of these protests, the possibility exists that elements of the activist community may attempt to engage in violent, destructive, or disruptive acts.' The protest tactics identified in Bulletin 89 included, Internet activity to recruit, raise funds, and coordinate activities; false documentation to gain access to secure facilities; marches, banners, and sit-ins; vandalism, physical harassment, and trespassing; drawing large numbers of police officers to a specific location in order to weaken security at other locations; use of homemade bombs; and intimidation of law enforcement through videotaping, without distinguishing between First Amendment-protected activity and criminal acts.
      (Memorandum for Glenn A. Fine, Inspector General Re: Constitutionality of Certain FBI Intelligence Bulletins, April 5, 2004: http://www.justice.gov/olc/docs/memo-fbi-bulletins.pdf)
  • Florida

    • Florida

      Incident Reports
    • Military Surveillance Gets Friends Meeting of Ft. Lauderdale listed on Government Watchlist. During the 2004 and 2005 Air-Sea Shows, the Friends Meeting of Ft. Lauderdale distributed information about conscientious objection to recruiters and interested civilians and handed out peace literature. An affiliated activist learned that this action had landed him on a government watchlist when, shortly after news broke about domestic surveillance by the Department of Defense, a local reporter called him and asked if he was a 'credible threat'.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/24251res20060224.html)
    • JTTF and US Army Recruiting Command Briefed on Anti-War Guerilla Theater. The Broward Anti-War Coalition's protest at the Florida air and sea show was included as a Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) database threat entry. The U.S. Army Recruiting Command and the JTTF in Miami had been briefed on the planned protest, which was intended to 'counter military recruitment and the 'pro-war' message with 'guerrilla theatre.''
      (pg. 4, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
    • FBI Bulletin Warns of FTAA Protests. On November 15, 2003, the FBI issued Intelligence Bulletin no. 94, entitled 'Potential for Criminal Activity at Free Trade Area of the Americas
      (FTAA) Annual Meeting.' It noted that the FTAA annual meeting 'historically... draws large scale demonstrations, both peaceful and by those individuals or groups who wish to disrupt the meeting.' The bulletin referenced a previous bulletin as providing 'guidance on tactics used during protests and demonstrations' that could 'assist... in preparations for the FTAA annual meeting.'
      (Memorandum for Glenn A. Fine, Inspector General Re: Constitutionality of Certain FBI Intelligence Bulletins, April 5, 2004: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/19849237/CONSTITUTIONALITY-OF-CERTAIN-FBI-INTELLIGENCE-BULLETINS)
  • Georgia

    • Georgia

      Incident Reports
    • Federal Protective Services Shares Information about Georgia State Students for Peace and Justice Protest. The Georgia State University Students for Peace and Justice appear in an April 2005 Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON). The source, a 'special agent of the federal protective service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security,' describes an email alert he received about an 'Anti-Recruitment Picket.' The Atlanta Police Department, the Georgia Information and Sharing Intelligence Center, and the Atlanta Recruiting Battalion were among the local organizations advised of the protests.
      (pg. 5, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
    • FBI Surveillance of SOA Protest. FBI surveillance of School of the Americas
      (SOA) Watch's peaceful protests and acts of civil disobedience outside Fort Benning, once classified as 'Routine,' after 2001 became 'Priority' and subject to 'Counterterrorism' monitoring.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spying/25442prs20060504.html and http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spying/25436res20060504.html)
    • Military Lists Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition as a Threat to DOD. A Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) report listing Atlanta-area protests organized by the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition
      (GPJC) contends that the Students for Peace and Justice Network poses a threat to DOD personnel. Citing a DHS source, the TALON supports its claim by listing prior acts of civil disobedience in California and Texas, including a protest at the University of California Santa Cruz campus, a sit-in, and street theatre.
      (pg. 5, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
    • Vegetarian Activist Arrested for Writing Down License Plate Number of DHS Agent Who Monitored Her Protest. An activist was arrested after a peaceful protest on public property outside the Honey Baked Ham store on Buford Highway in DeKalb County for taking down the license plate number of the car belonging to the DHS agent who had been photographing the protestors all day.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/24168res20060216.html)
    • Veteran Surveiled for Participation in Recruiting Station Protest. A veteran who was honorably discharged from the US army after eight years of active duty and who is married to a man who remains on active duty in the military, found herself under Pentagon surveillance when she participated in a protest near an Army Recruiting Station in Atlanta, GA on Ponce de Leon Avenue.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/24155res20060215.html)
    • DHS Terrorist Watch List Report on Muslim Conference. In March 2008, DHS produced a 'terrorism watch list' report about a Muslim conference in Georgia at which several Americans were scheduled to speak, even though it 'did not have any evidence the conference or the speakers promoted radical extremism or terrorist activity,' and such speech is constitutionally protected.
      (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/us/17disclose.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper).
    • FBI Field Intelligence Group Lists Green Party as Potential Target for Eco-terrorism Investigation. An FBI intelligence analyst wrote a 2005 memo 'identifying future targets of the animal rights and environment [sic] rights movements and/or those committing crimes on behalf of the movement in the Georgia area,' which listed the Green Party as a terrorist group.
      (http://gawker.com/5329187/fbi-agent-thinks-the-green-party-is-a-terrorist-group-with-nukes).
  • Iowa

    • Iowa

      Incident Reports
    • JTTF Delivers Grand Jury Subpoenas to Peace Activists and Drake University. In February 2004, it came to light that four peace activists and Drake University had received federal grand jury subpoenas, which were delivered by a local JTTF officer. The U.S. Attorney's statement on the subpoenas shows that they were all related to a mid-November seminar at Drake University, led by the National Lawyers Guild, on non-violent civil disobedience.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/16989prs20040210.html)
    • FBI and Local Police Infiltrate Iowa Peace Groups Before Republican National Convention. An FBI informant and a Ramsey County Minnesota Sheriff's Deputy went undercover to infiltrate Iowa City peace groups in advance of the Republican National Convention, and attended an Iowa City campus anti-war demonstration. FBI files include detailed descriptions of a dozen Iowa political activists.
      (http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/05/17-4)
    • FBI Raids Activists’ Garbage and Monitors Their Comings and Goings at the Library and Other Public Places. Prior to the 2008 Republican National Convention, FBI agents staked out the homes of activists, secretly photographing and videotaping them, digging through their garbage, and studying their cell phone and motor vehicle records. Federal agents and other law enforcement officers also documented protesters' comings and goings at the Iowa City Public Library, the New Pioneer Co-op natural foods store, the Red Avocado restaurant, the Deadwood Tavern, and the Wesley Center campus ministry of the United Methodist Church.
      (http://www.kwwl.com/Global/story.asp?S=13183862)
  • Idaho

    • Idaho

      Incident Reports
    • FBI Questions Idaho Progressive Student Alliance Leaders. In May 2005, the ACLU and ACLU of Idaho filed FOIA to request information on behalf of the Idaho Progressive Student Alliance
      (IPSA), a non-partisan student group that focuses on social, economic, gender, and environmental justice. The IPSA President and Secretary were questioned by FBI agents in March 2004 regarding the IPSA's boycott of Taco Bell to protest the conditions of Immokalee workers in Florida.
      (http://www.aclu.org/spyfiles/idaho_pressrelease.pdf)
  • Illinois

    • Illinois

      Incident Reports
    • Military Reports on American Friends Service Committee Action. The American Friends Service Committee
      (AFSC) appears in a Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) report regarding the group's planned protests at a recruiting center in Springfield, Illinois. A 'special agent of the federal protective service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security,' provided information he received in an email alert from the AFSC: '[A] series of protest actions were planned in the Springfield, IL area . . . to focus on actions at military recruitment offices with the goals to include: raising awareness, education, visibility in community, visibility to recruiters as part of a national day of action focused on military recruiters.'
      (pg. 3, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
    • JTTF Investigates Muslim Man Using Hand Counter to Track His Daily Prayers. A Middle Eastern man in traditional clothing sparked a three-day police manhunt in Chicago when a passenger on the bus he was riding notified the police that he was clicking a hand counter during the trip. A JTTF investigation into the episode revealed he was using the counter to keep track of his daily prayers, a common Muslim practice.
      (http://guylawson.com/pdf/rollingstone/fearfactory.pdf, and pg. 7, http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusion_update_20080729.pdf)
    • FBI Search Activists’ Homes and Issue Subpoenas.In September 2010, FBI agents searched the homes of several anti-war activists as well as the apartment of the executive director of an Arab American civil rights organization. They also issued subpoenas to several activists requesting records of payments to the Arab American civil rights organization. The FBI stated that it is seeking evidence in support of an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism, but the activists suspect the raids were meant as intimidation; the activists targeted had all protested at the Republican National Convention in 2008 and several also contribute to a socialist newsletter that is generally supportive of leftist groups and critical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
      (http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/09/fbi-serves-search-warrants-he...).
    • Activists Cry Foul Over FBI Probe. Peace activists and labor organizers who were the target of large-scale FBI raids in September, 2010, and who believe they being improperly targeted as a result of their political activism and speech, are fighting back against the probe by speaking out, organizing and generating grassroots support.
      (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/activists-cry-foul-over-fbi-probe/2011/06/09/AGPRskTH_story.html?hpid=z2)
  • Indiana

    • Indiana

      Incident Reports
    • IDP Alters Peaceful Protest's Route. In August 2003, the National Governors Association
      (NGA) held a meeting in Indianapolis. In preparation for the NGA meeting, the Indianapolis Police Department
      (IPD) Intelligence Unit created a 'protest zone' outside of the hotel where the governors stayed and where many of the meetings took place. The local police soon learned that a group of demonstrators wished to walk the eight or nine blocks from St. Mary's Catholic Church to the protest zone. The demonstrators were silent and non-disruptive, yet. They were met by twenty to thirty IPD police officers riding on bikes and in cars. The IPD decided, on the spot, to develop the route that the demonstrators were required to take. Following the completion of protest activity in the protest zone, a number of the demonstrators wished to return to St. Mary's in a group as a continuation of their protest but were again escorted back by the police. Several of the protestors sued O'Connor for violating their First Amendment rights to peacefully protest by altering their route. On February 9, 2005, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana found in favor of the protestors.
      (http://www.aclu.org/FilesPDFs/in free speech district court.pdf)
    • IDP Raids Solidarity Books Collective. The IPD raided Solidarity Books Collective
      (SBC), a local political awareness group.
      (http://www.aclu.org/FilesPDFs/in free speech district court.pdf)
  • Kansas

    • Kansas

      Incident Reports
    • Kansas Police Department Trains Rental and Maintenance Staff to Spy for Them. One Kansas police department trains maintenance and rental staffs of apartment complexes, motels, and storage facilities to look for things like 'printed terrorist materials and propaganda.'
      (pg. 14, http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusioncenter_20071212.pdf)
  • Kentucky

    • Kentucky

      Incident Reports
    • Minister Placed on FBI List for Ordering Books on Islam. A Greenup County minister was detained for more than an hour by Canadian border officials while trying to enter the country in fall 2004 on a sightseeing trip. The Reverend has never been arrested, has never been charged with a crime, and has never even participated in a protest. Border officials indicated that he was being detained because he is the subject of an FBI file. He believes he may have come under federal scrutiny immediately after September 11 when he ordered books over the Internet about the Islamic religion, including several copies of the Koran. He did so - at the request of his congregation - to help the church members gain a better understanding of the faith.
      (http://www.aclu.org/spyfiles/kentucky_pressrelease.pdf)
  • Louisiana

    • Louisiana

      Incident Reports
    • Veterans for Peace Classified as Threat to DOD Personnel. An April 2005 Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) points to an altercation between a soldier and an individual at a university anti-war rally in New Orleans. Despite acknowledging that '[i]t is unknown if the individuals involved in the incident are students at the local university or associated with the Veterans for Peace organization,' the report alleges that the incident demonstrates that VFP should be viewed as a possible 'threat' to DOD personnel.
      (pg. 5, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
  • Massachusetts

    • Massachusetts

      Incident Reports
    • UMass Amherst Campus Police Joints Ant-Terrorism Taskforce. In December 2002, a police officer at the University of Massachusetts campus at Amherst was recruited by the FBI to spend several days a week working exclusively for its Anti-Terrorism Task Force. The arrangement came to light after FBI agents, acting on the basis of information provided by the campus officer, questioned a faculty member and an organizer for a campus union. The faculty member is of Iraqi descent and the union organizer is from Sri Lanka.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/17079prs20021212.html)
    • Undercover Harvard Police Photographs Peaceful Protestors. A plain-clothes Harvard University detective was caught photographing people at a peaceful protest for 'intelligence gathering' purposes. Protesters who then photographed the officer were arrested. HUPD officers are sworn special State Police officers who often work 'in conjunction with other agencies, including the Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police, Cambridge Police, Somerville Police, and many federal agencies.' A university spokesman refused to say what the HUPD does with the photographs it takes for 'intelligence gathering' purposes, so it is unknown whether this information was shared.
      (pg. 7, http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusion_update_20080729.pdf)
    • Fusion Center's Standard Operating Procedures Allow Undercover Police Monitoring of First Amendment Activities. The ACLU of Massachusetts recently obtained a copy of the Commonwealth Fusion Center's 'Standard Operating Procedures.' The procedures allow undercover police officers to attend public meetings to gather intelligence even when there is no reasonable suspicion of illegal activity.
      (pg. 7, http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusion_update_20080729.pdf)
  • Maryland

  • Maine

    • Maine

      Incident Reports
    • FBI Intercepts and Stores E-mails Planning Peaceful Protests. The FBI intercepted and stored e-mail communications pertaining to protests at the Brunswick Naval Air Show and against the christening of an Arleigh Burke Class destroyer organized by Veterans for Peace and co-sponsored by Pax Christi Maine, PeaceWorks, WILPF, Peace Action Maine, Smilin'Trees Disarmament Farm, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Maine Coalition for Peace & Justice, Island Peace & Justice, Winthrop Area People for Peace, and Waldo County Peace & Justice.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spying/27177res20061025.html)
  • Michigan

    • Michigan

      Incident Reports
    • Members of Mosques Asked to Monitor Their Fellow Congregants. In April 2009, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan sent a letter to Attorney General Holder after mosques and other groups reported that their members had been asked by the FBI to monitor people coming to mosques and the donations they make.
      (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/16/national/main4949669.shtml)
    • Michigan State Police Reportedly Extracting Personal Info From Cellphones. Michigan State Police
      (MSP) may be using portable devices to secretly extract personal information such as text messages, photos, video, and GPS data from cell phones during routine stops. On April 13, the ACLU of Michigan urged the ACLU of Michigan to release information regarding the use of portable devices which can be used to secretly extract personal information from cell phones during routine stops. For nearly three years, the ACLU has repeatedly asked for this information through dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests, but to date it has not been provided.
      (http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/7185-michigan-state-police-reportedly-extracting-personal-info-from-cellphones and http://www.aclumich.org/issues/privacy-and-technology/2011-04/1542)
    • U.S. Woman was Handcuffed and Searched After Being Detained for Middle Eastern Appearance. In Detroit, a passenger may have been the victim of unconstitutional racial profiling as a result of her “Middle Eastern” appearance. She was escorted off of an airplane in handcuffs, detained, strip searched, fingerprinted, and interrogated by Airport Police when two men who were seated next to her were wrongly reported to have engaged in ‘suspicious activity’ by going to the bathroom.
      (http://news.yahoo.com/passenger-cuffed-searched-over-appearance-003800344.html).
  • Minnesota

    • Minnesota

      Incident Reports
    • FBI Seeks Informant for Surveillance at Vegan Potlucks. Prior to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force attempted to recruit a University of Minnesota student arrested for vandalism to go undercover at 'vegan pot-lucks' in order to spy on groups organizing protests.
      (http://www.citypages.com/2008-05-21/news/moles-wanted/)
    • Police Conduct Pre-emptive Raids Against Video Journalists, Protest Groups. The weekend before the start of the Republican National Convention, Ramsey County Sheriffs and St. Paul police conducted pre-emptive raids against a video journalist group, I-Witness, whose documentation of police misconduct during the 2004 Republican National Convention were instrumental in overturning criminal charges against protesters there. Police also conducted several other raids, apparently in coordination with the FBI, and made pre-emptive arrests of people planning to protest at the RNC.
      (http://www.alternet.org/rights/97110/rnc_raids_have_been_targeting_video_activists_/)
    • Police Conduct Mass Arrests of Protesters on Opening Day of Republican National Convention. State and local police conducted pre-emptive mass arrests of more than 200 protesters and innocent pedestrians in Riverfront Park on the opening day of the Republican National Convention.
      (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/chicago10/police.html)
    • Mass Arrests on Final Day of Republican National Convention Result in No Charges for 323 people. On the final day of the RNC police conducted mass arrests, including 323 people gathered on the Marion Street and Cedar Street bridges. All 323 were later released without charge.
      (http://minnesotaindependent.com/27157/rnc-aftermath-no-charges-from-323-arrests-on-final-day)
    • FBI Searches Anti-War and Pro-Palestine Activists’ Homes. In September 2010, the FBI searched the homes of six of anti-war, socialist or pro-Palestinian groups seeking records of “any payment provided directly or indirectly to” an Arab American civil rights group. One of the activists whose home was searched edits a socialist newsletter and works for a socialist organization. The subpoena also seeks documents relating to activists’ travels to Colombia, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Israel and any travel in connection with the socialist organization.
      (http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Searches_FBI_Anti_War_Activists)
    • Activists Cry Foul Over FBI Probe. Peace activists and labor organizers who were the target of large-scale FBI raids in September, 2010, and who believe they being improperly targeted as a result of their political activism and speech, are fighting back against the probe by speaking out, organizing and generating grassroots support.
      (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/activists-cry-foul-over-fbi-probe/2011/06/09/AGPRskTH_story.html?hpid=z2)
    • The shadow of suspicion falls in the Mall of America: Visitors who have done nothing wrong are winding up identified in counterterrorism reports. An investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting
      (CIR) and National Public Radio
      (NPR) revealed that the Mall of America runs a suspicious activity reporting
      (SAR) program that violates innocent shoppers’ First and Fourth Amendment rights. Approximately 1,200 shoppers are stopped each year by the mall’s private security guards under the pretext of having engaged in “suspicious” activity, including such innocent and innocuous activity like photography, videography and note-taking, which are protected under the First Amendment. Mall security stops and sometimes detains these individuals, interrogates them, collects their personal information and sends it to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and fusion centers, where it may be kept on file for decades even when there is no finding of wrongdoing. Nearly two-thirds of the SARs examined by CIR and NPR involved racial and ethnic minorities.
      (http://www.salon.com/2011/09/07/mallofamerica/)
  • Missouri

  • North Carolina

    • North Carolina

      Incident Reports
    • Pentagon Surveils Veteran. A veteran who was honorably discharged from the US army after eight years of active duty and who is married to an active duty military man, found herself under Pentagon surveillance when she participated in a protest at Fort Bragg in March 2005 led by veterans and military families.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/24155res20060215.html)
    • TALON Report on Peaceful Protest. A planned demonstration at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was listed in the TALON database, though it had been determined not to be a credible threat because of its 'peaceful' nature.
      (pg. 1, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
    • FBI Questions Anti-War Activist.In September 2010, FBI agents questioned a North Carolina anti-war activist at his home in Durham around the same time agents were searching eight other activists’ homes in Minneapolis and Chicago. The FBI then tried to question another individual who had been associated with the activist. The activist mused, 'The effect of what could come out of these FBI raids is a silencing of the anti-war movement.'
      (http://www.wral.com/news/state/story/8355278/)
  • New Jersey

    • New Jersey

      Incident Reports
    • Municipalities Refuse to Disclose How They Determine 'Potential Threat Elements.' In 2004, the ACLU of New Jersey sent open public records requests to the 50 largest New Jersey municipalities to obtain documents disclosing the identification of, or criteria for designating individuals as, 'potential threat elements.' Eight municipalities responded with refusals to disclose their records, claiming they were exempt from disclosure under New Jersey's Open Public Records Act
      (OPRA).
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/18727prs20041202.html)
    • Newark Police Illegally Detain and Threaten an Honors Student Over Videography. Two Newark police officers searched and detained an honors student, and threatened to charge her with obstruction of justice because she videotaped police who were responding to a medical emergency on a city bus. The New Jersey affiliate of the ACLU has filed suit against the police department and officers involved in the incident.
      (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/03/aclu_lawsuit_against_newark_po.html)
  • New Mexico

    • New Mexico

      Incident Reports
    • Military monitors Veterans for Peace Protest. An April 2005 Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) from an 'active duty U.S. Army officer' reports on protests organized by the group Veterans for Peace
      (VFP), which the TALON describes as 'a peaceful antiwar/ anti-military organization.' Without any evident factual basis, the TALON states that although VFP is 'a peaceful organization . . . there is potential [that] future protest[s] could become violent.'
      (pg. 4, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
    • Albuquerque Police Department Infiltrates Anti-War Protest Planning Meetings. An undercover Albuquerque Police Department detective attended organizing meetings for a protest against the Iraq war that was held on March 23, 2003. The detective used a false name, joined email contact lists, and gathered intelligence about the organizers. Undercover APD officers also attended the demonstration posing as protestors.
      (http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/aclu-new-mexico-sues-albuquerque-police-over-mistreatment-peaceful-protestors)
  • Nevada

  • New York

    • New York

      Incident Reports
    • Military Spies on Veterans for Peace Lecture. On April 20, 2005, a member of Veterans For Peace spoke to about 75 students and community members at SUNY Albany. Seven months later, when NBC News aired a story about groups being spied on by the government, he learned that the SUNY Albany event was one of the events that had been monitored.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/24185res20060217.html)
    • Military Monitors War Resisters League Peaceful Protest. A February 2005 Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) focuses on protests planned by the War Resisters League
      (WRL) near New York City recruiting stations. The document describes WRL as advocating 'Gandhian nonviolence.' CODEPINK and United for Peace and Justice are mentioned as joining WRL in protest events.
      (pg. 3, http://www.aclu.org/files/pdfs/safefree/spyfiles_norealthreat_20070117.pdf)
    • NYPD Infiltrates Republican National Convention Protest Groups. For at least a year prior to the 2004 protests at the Republican National Convention in New York City, undercover NYPD officers fanned out across the country from Albuquerque to Miami and, posing as activists and sympathizers, infiltrated hundreds of groups planning to attend the protests.
      (http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/federal-judge-orders-release-rnc-intelligence-documents)
    • NYPD Arrests Free Speech Activist and Confiscates Chalk-Writing Bike. A student who created an internet-connected bicycle that printed messages in water-soluble sidewalk chalk as he rode was arrested by the NYPD while he was demonstrating the device to a news reporter. The arrest was not spontaneous, but was arranged by the NYPD's RNC Intelligence Unit, which had collected a file on him. The arrest disrupted his plan to ride around during the Republican National Convention, printing sidewalk messages sent in via his website. He was released the following day without charge but the bike was not returned.
      (http://www.wired.com/politics/onlinerights/news/2007/04/kinberg_0410)
    • Police Detain Muslim-American Journalism Student for Taking Photos for a Class Assignment. A 24-year old Muslim-American journalism student at Syracuse University was stopped by Veterans Affairs police in New York for taking photographs of flags in front of a VA building as part of a class assignment. After taking her into an office for interrogation and taking her driver's license, the police deleted the photographs from her digital camera before releasing her.
      (http://www.progressive.org/mag_mc091707, and pg. 6, http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusion_update_20080729.pdf)
    • Rochester Woman Arrested After Videotaping Police From Her Own Front Yard. A videographer in Rochester, NY was arrested on her front yard because she videotaped police during a traffic stop, violatiing her First Amendment rights. The arresting officer claimed her standing in her yard with a video camera posed a security threat to the officers at the scene.
      (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/22/emily-good-arrested-videotaping-police-rochester_n_882122.html)
    • With CIA Help, NYPD Moves Covertly in Muslim Areas. Since 9/11, the CIA has blurred the line between foreign and domestic intelligence gathering operations despite a law that makes it illegal for the CIA to engage in any domestic surveillance. It reportedly partnered with the NYPD, allowing several of its high ranking officials to work dually with the CIA and the NYPD to help the NYPD transform its intelligence unit and train it to spy on the Muslim community in New York and elsewhere. CIA helped the NYPD create an intelligence operation that relies heavily on a “human mapping” program, which consists of racial and religious profiling in Muslim communities, as well as surveillance of First Amendment-protected activity in Mosques, coffee shops, bookstores, and other local “hot spots.” The program has not been subject to oversight by the New York City Counsel, or by the federal government, and documents about the program operations have reportedly been destroyed to prevent disclosure to the courts. As part of the program, the NYPD eyed 250 plus mosques and student groups at New York colleges, and targeted the Moroccan community in New York City.
      (http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_18747455, http://www.salon.com/2011/09/06/us_nypd_intelligence/, http://news.yahoo.com/ap-impact-nypd-eyed-us-citizens-intel-effort-072807203.html, and http://online.wsj.com/article/AP60bf36d52cb449658160f88464302aec.html)
    • Private Security Contractor Provides NYPD, FBI with Information on Planning for Occupy Wall Street Protests. A private cyber security expert gained access to the e-mail listserv of Occupy Wall Street organizers and forwarded e-mail threads on the planned peaceful protest to the FBI, NYPD, and Comcast. An FBI agent indicated the Occupy Wall Street protest was an “emerging threat to U.S. information systems” that the FBI was “monitoring and preparing to meet… with physical security.”
      (http://gawker.com/5850054/meet-the-guy-who-snitched-on-occupy-wall-street-to-the-fbi-and-nypd)
  • Ohio

    • Ohio

      Incident Reports
    • Military Monitors Anti-War Protest. A protest entitled 'Stop the War NOW!' was reported as a potential terrorist threat in a March 2005 Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON). The TALON describes the protest, aimed at a military recruiting station and federal building in Akron as including a rally, march, and 'Reading of Names of War Dead.'
      (pg. 3, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
    • Muslim Civil Right Activist Wrongfully Place on Terrorist Watchlist and Detained at U.S.-Canadian Border. A Muslim civil rights activist and interfaith community leader prevailed in court in her effort to sue the Department of Homeland Security
      (DHS) after she was wrongfully placed on at least one terrorist watch list, and wrongfully detained, questioned, and searched at the Canadian-US border. The ruling could have a significant impact on the way that individuals obtain information about themselves from the government.
      (http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2011/06/julia_shearson_tells_how_a_wee.html)
  • Oklahoma

  • Oregon

    • Oregon

      Incident Reports
    • Portland Withdraws from JTTF. In April 2005, Portland, Oregon became the first city in the nation to withdraw local law enforcement participation from the JTTFs rather than allow them to participate without proper oversight.
      (http://aclu-or.org/content/city-portland-withdraws-jttf-2005)
    • Federal Protective Service engages in undercover surveillance of Oregon rally. On May 30, 2008 a Federal Protective Service officer engaged in undercover surveillance of a peaceful anti-pesticide rally in Eugene, Oregon, located several blocks from any federal building. The FPS officer called Eugene Police Department officers to the scene and pointed to an individual who EPD immediately arrested.
      (http://www.kval.com/news/local/26099959.html)
  • Pennsylvania

    • Pennsylvania

      Incident Reports
    • FBI Investigates Thomas Merton Center for Peace & Justice. Two documents released in March 2006 reveal that the FBI investigated gatherings of the Thomas Merton Center for Peace & Justice
      (TMC) because the organization opposed the war in Iraq. The FBI memo points out that the Merton Center 'is a left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism.' Several members of TMC have found themselves under surveillance.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spying/24528prs20060314.html and http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/24287res20060227.html)
    • FBI Monitors Anti-War Leafleting. The former Director of the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice was at a protest on November 24, 2002, that the FBI was monitoring despite the fact that TMC often advises the police of what they're planning. The protest consisted of handing out anti-war flyers at a shopping mall.
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spying/24522res20060314.html)
    • Penn State Senior Arrested for Taking Photo of Police Activity. A 21-year-old Penn State senior was arrested in his own backyard in Philadelphia for snapping a picture of police activity in his neighborhood with a cell phone camera. He was taken to the police station where police threatened to charge him with conspiracy, impeding police, and obstruction of justice, but he was later released without charge.
      (pg. 6, http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusion_update_20080729.pdf)
    • Muslim-American's Security Clearance Revoked After Questioning on First Amendment Activities. After making public comments criticizing the FBI's treatment of Muslims in Pittsburgh, a nuclear physicist and naturalized American citizen, had his security clearance improperly revoked by the U.S. Department of Energy
      (DOE) despite 18 years of dedicated service. Though they never told him the reason his clearance was revoked, during seven hours of interviews, representatives from the DOE and the FBI never alleged a breach of security but instead questioned him about his religious beliefs, his work as an imam in the Pennsylvania prison system, his political views about the U.S. war in Iraq, and the speeches he'd made in local mosques criticizing the FBI.
      (pg. 6, http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusion_update_20080729.pdf and http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/government-revoked-muslim-nuclear-physicists-security-clearance-retaliate-criticism-us-p)
    • Pennsylvania Actionable Intelligence Bulletin Targets Education, Immigration, Anti-War, LGBT, Muslim, and Other Groups. The Pennsylvania Actionable Intelligence Bulletin has included warnings to law enforcement officials about a pro-education rally organized by Pennsylvania Citizens for Children and Youth and Good Schools Pennsylvania, antigun demonstrations, the coming of the circus, a pro-immigration protest organized by Stop Deportation, an anti-war demonstration called 'Funding for Philadelphia, Not for War!', the Philadelphia LGBT Pride Parade and Festival, a gay-pride festival in Harrisburg, a Muslim family celebration in Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh Organizing Group's G-20 protest.
      (http://www.allbusiness.com/crime-law/criminal-offenses-misc-espionage/14829043-1.html)
    • Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security Spies on Environmental Activists.The Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security
      (OHS), through a private contractor, has been gathering information, including lists of public meetings they plan to attend, on the peaceful political activities of environmental activists opposed to a controversial form of gas drilling called hydraulic fracturing. In addition, documents strongly suggest that the Pennsylvania OHS was actively taking sides in the political dispute between environmentalists and drilling companies.
      (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-stanley/drilling-opponents-spied_b_719567.html)
    • Pennsylvania OHS Lists Activists, Jewish and Muslim Holidays as Security Threats. OHS documents list 'demonstrations by anti-war groups, deportation protesters in Philadelphia, mountaintop removal mining protesters in West Virginia and an animal rights protest at a Montgomery County rodeo' as well as 'Burn the Confederate Flag Day,' and Jewish and Muslim holidays as 'potential security concerns' and included warnings concerning 'anarchists and Black Power radicals.'
      (http://publicintelligence.info/complete-pennsylvania-homeland-security-intelligence-bulletins-october-2009-september-2010/)
    • Pennsylvania Homeland Security Monitored Residents' Tweets. Emails recently released from a Right-To-Know request show that the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security monitored the twitter activity of law-abiding citizens.
      (www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/pa-homeland-security-monitored-tweets/)
  • Rhode Island

    • Rhode Island

      Incident Reports
    • Middle Eastern Man Arrested by JTTF. A Pawtucket resident was arrested by the Rhode Island JTTF for failing to appear in court on a minor larceny charge. The involvement of the JTTF in this case is puzzling, and the Middle Eastern name of the person arrested suggests the use of racial profiling in the JTTF's activities. The ACLU of Rhode Island filed a FOIA request in May 2005 seeking information about this particular arrest as well as information about how the practices and funding structure of the JTTFs.
      (http://www.aclu.org/spyfiles/ri_pressrelease.pdf)
    • Military surveillance of Rhode Island Community Coalition for Peace. The Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) database includes a report of a December 2004 protest outside of a National Guard recruitment station organized by Rhode Island-based Community Coalition for Peace
      (RICCP). The TALON document begins by stating that it is being provided 'only to alert commanders and staff to potential terrorist activity or apprise them of other force protection issues.'
      (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27267prs20061101.html and pg. 4, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
  • Tennessee

    • Tennessee

      Incident Reports
    • 'Suspicious' Letter Raises Free Speech Issues For ACLU. Tennessee Fusion Center tracks ACLU advocacy as terrorism-related suspicious activity.
      (http://www.aclu-tn.org/release122110.htm)
  • Texas

    • Texas

      Incident Reports
    • Fusion Center Describes Conspiracy to Spread Tolerance. In February 2009, a DHS-supported North Central Texas Fusion System intelligence bulletin described a purported conspiracy between Muslim civil rights organizations, lobbying groups, the anti-war movement, a former U.S. Congresswoman, the U.S. Treasury Department, and hip hop bands to spread tolerance in the U.S. The bulletin was reportedly distributed to over 100 different agencies.
      (http://www.aclu.org/privacy/gen/38835prs20090225.html and http://www.privacylives.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/texasfusion_021909.pdf)
    • Fusion Center Power Point Presentation Describes Searching Web for 'Threatening Words' Such as 'Protest”. An inadvertently released power point presentation by the North Central Texas Fusion Center describes searching 'blogs' and 'websites' for threatening words like 'protest' and 'hate.' A category for processing is 'expressed opinion on HLS [Homeland Security] issues.'
      (http://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech-technology-and-liberty/little-privacy-invading-snowflakes)
    • Texas DHS Tries To Create Massive Database of Law Enforcement, Government, and Private Data. In the wake of the influx of evacuees after Hurricane Katrina, the Texas Department of Homeland Security contracted with Northrop Grumman Corporation for a $1.4 million database project that would bring together a wide variety of law enforcement and government data, as well as consumer dossiers gathered by the private data company ChoicePoint. The project was intended to create a 'global search capability,' which would then be made available to the Texas Fusion Center. The project failed due to concerns over the security of the data: 'it was not clear who at Northrop had access to the data, or what had become of it.'
      (pg. 12, http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusioncenter_20071212.pdf)
    • Military monitors Anti-Recruitment Protest. The Department of Defense
      (DOD) Threat and Local Observation Notice
      (TALON) database includes a report on a counter-recruitment/anti-war protest at a recruitment station in Austin.
      (pg. 5, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/27988pub20070117.html)
    • Sheriffs Stop Al-Jazeera From Filming on Public Road. Sheriff's deputies in Texas stopped an Al-Jazeera television crew that was filming on a public road more than a mile away from a nuclear power plant and conducted 'extensive background checks' on them. The police said they 'found no criminal history or other problems.'
      (pg. 6, http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/privacy/fusion_update_20080729.pdf)
    • FBI Infiltrates Austin Protest Groups in Advance of Republican National Convention. The FBI utilized a prominent and influential activist as an informant against Texas activists for 18 months prior to the RNC. FBI reports produce by the informant include 'dozens of people, most of whom have never been charged with a crime.'
      (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/us/05informant.html)
    • FBI Wrongly Targets Peaceful Activist and Anarchist For At Least Three Years. A heavily redacted, 440 page disclosure by the FBI in response to a Freedom of Information Act
      (FOIA) request, confirmed an activist’s suspicions that he had been the target of an FBI investigation for at least three years. During that time, the FBI conducted round-the-clock surveillance of the peaceful activist, as well as subpoenaed his bank and mortgage companies, visited the store where he bought a gun, pressured the IRS to audit his tax returns, and infiltrated political meetings with undercover officers.
      (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/us/29surveillance.html)
  • Utah

    • Utah

      Incident Reports
    • U.S. Joint Forces Command Disseminates Information on Planned Parenthood and National Alliance. The U.S. Joint Forces Command liaison, working with the FBI's Olympic Intelligence Center, collected and disseminated information on members of Planned Parenthood and National Alliance, a white supremacist group, regarding their involvement in protests and distributing literature as part of the government's security preparations for the 2002 Olympics.
      (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/02/military-spied-on-plannet-parenthood)
  • Virginia

  • Washington

  • Wisconsin

    • Wisconsin

      Incident Reports
    • DHS Threat Assessment on Pro- and Anti-Choice Groups. A Department of Homeland Security intelligence official assigned to the Wisconsin Statewide Information Center produced a 'threat assessment' about a February 2009 rally involving local pro- and anti-choice groups even though the groups posed no threat to homeland security. A lawyer representing the groups has filed a request for the report through Wisconsin open records laws, but local officials have refused to release it, citing 'sensitive law enforcement information.'
      (http://dailyherald.com/story/?id=357811).

Unfortunately, it appears that these old tendencies have once again come to the fore. Law enforcement agencies across America continue to monitor and harass groups and individuals for doing little more than peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.

A thorough search and review of news accounts by the ACLU reveals that these law enforcement behaviors have taken place in at least 36 states plus the District of Columbia in recent years. Americans have been put under surveillance or harassed by the police just for deciding to organize, march, protest, espouse unusual viewpoints, and engage in normal, innocuous behaviors such as writing notes or taking photographs in public.

For example, in 2009, at least four troubling Fusion Center reports have come to light:

• The Virginia Fusion Center's Homegrown Terrorism Document:
http://www.infowars.com/media/vafusioncenterterrorassessment.pdf

• The Texas Fusion Center's Prevention Awareness Bulletin:
http://www.privacylives.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/texasfusion_021909.pdf

• The Missouri Fusion Center's Document on the Modern Militia Movement:
http://www.privacylives.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/miacreport_022009.pdf

• The Massachusetts Fusion Center's “Commonwealth Fusion Center's Standard Operating Procedures”
https://www.aclu.org/files/pdfs/spyfiles/ma_14furtherinformation_attach_guidelinesforinvestigationsinvolvingfirstamendactivity.pdf

 

Nationally

DHS Reports Warns of Veterans. DHS's "Right-Wing Extremism" Report warned that right-wing extremists might recruit and radicalize "disgruntled military veterans." (
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/14/federal-agency-warns-of-radicals-on-right/)

DHS Report Warns of Environmental Groups. DHS's Contractor Eco-Terrorism Report described environmental organizations like the Sierra Club, the Humane Society, and the Audubon Society as "mainstream organizations with known or possible links to eco-terrorism." (
http://www.unbossed.com/index.php?itemid=2546)

DHS Keeps Calendar of Peaceful Protests. DHS's March 2006 "Protective Intelligence Bulletin" lists several advocacy groups that were targets of the Maryland State Police operations, including CODEPINK, Iraq Pledge of Resistance and DAWN, and contains a "civil activists and extremists action calendar" that details dozens of demonstrations planned around the country, mostly peace rallies. Federal Protective Services apparently gleaned this information from the Internet. There is no indication anywhere in the document to suggest illegal activity might occur at any of these demonstrations. The ACLU filed complaints in response to this improper intelligence gathering, and the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties concluded its review, determining that information like that will no longer be distributed regionally or nationally, and will only be distributed locally to those who have a situational awareness need for the information. (
https://www.aclu.org/privacy/gen/39226prs20090401.html and
https://www.aclu.org/national-security/letter-aclu-dhs-office-civil-rights-and-civil-liberties-regarding-surveillance)

FBI Lists Green Party as Target for Eco-Terrorism Investigation. The FBI Field Intelligence Group lists the Green Party as potential future target of eco-terrorism investigation. (
http://gawker.com/5329187/fbi-agent-thinks-the-green-party-is-a-terrorist-group-with-nukes)

DHS Reports on Nation of Islam in Violation of its own Protocols. In October 2007, DHS sent a report, "Nation of Islam: Uncertain Leadership Succession Poses Risks," to hundreds of federal officials despite the fact that Department guidelines had called for the files to be destroyed because the assessment of the group had lasted more than 180 days without uncovering evidence of potential terrorism. (
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/us/17disclose.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper).

FBI Spies on Activists Involved in First Amendment Activities and Mischaracterizes Civil Disobedience.The FBI improperly spied on American activists involved in First Amendment-protected activities, mischaracterized nonviolent civil disobedience as terrorism, and improperly placed activists on terrorist watch lists, according to a report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG). The IG found the improper investigations were often opened based on “factually weak” or even “speculative” justifications and were sometimes extended in duration without sufficient basis. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/us/politics/21fbi.html, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/20/AR201009..., http://blog.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/09/fbi_cover-up_turns_laugh..., http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870398930457550419230689262..., and http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-fbi-activists-20100...).

Senate Security Will Use Internet Data Mining to Identify Lawmaker Threats. Senate Sgt. at Arms plans to contract with a private company to data mine the internet and social media sites to search keywords such as lawmakers names, and “slash” or “shoot” to identify potential threats. (
http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/155881-senate-security-will-conduct-internet-data-mining-to-identify-lawmaker-threats)

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