Civil Liberties

Keeping Tabs on Those Pacifist Terror Cells


For the second time today, here's a story about political spying carried out in the name of combatting terrorism:

Watching you

The FBI overstepped its authority in investigating left-wing domestic groups after the September 11, 2001 attacks and then misled Congress about its actions, an inspector general's report said Monday.

The report said the FBI improperly used the cover of "terrorism" to investigate a number of domestic activist groups from 2001 to 2006 including Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the pacifist Thomas Merton Center.

The Justice Department inspector general's report, requested by Congress four years ago, said the FBI classified these investigations as "domestic terrorism cases" but had little to back this up.

It said this was based on "potential crimes" including trespassing and vandalism "that could alternatively have been classified differently."

The report also said the FBI "made false and misleading statements to Congress" about the investigations including surveillance of an anti-war rally, and said that the agency should review whether "administrative or other action is warranted" for this.

To read the full report, download the pdf here.


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  1. Right. Congress will say “Don’t do that.”

    The FBI will say “We won’t ever do it again.” (“Until the next time, that is.”)

    This same sort of shit happened in the 60s and 70s. The FBI promissed they wouldn’t do it again.

    1. As we’ve seen with torture, the President wants us to look to the future, not prosecute crimes committed by the last administration.

      It’s called professional courtesy and rest assured that Team Obama will get theirs in turn.

  2. But they were Liberal Fascists! Jesus told me so, during a lecture he gave at the University of Tennessee’s Law School.

    1. Teabaggers are insurgents! Obama told us so!

  3. Now that the right people are in charge, abuse of domestic law enforcement agencies is a thing of the past.

    That whooshing sound you just heard was the DEA on its way to another MM clinic raid.

    1. which sucks, because now that I live in Denver, those dog-shooting DEA guys are going to be swarming my neighborhood (with at least 20 dispensaries within a mile of my house)

  4. Left-wing domestic groups they’re all over like white on rice…

    Nobody tell ’em teh moslems is building a mosque at Ground Zero, please.

    1. Someone’s building a mosque at Ground Zero?? Why isn’t Reason all over this!!?

    2. Someone’s building a mosque at Ground Zero?? Why isn’t Reason all over this!!?

      1. …and AGAIN I ask….

  5. Can someone please come on and tell me that any aspect of the US Goverment’s response to 9/11 was measured and well-conceived? Please. I just want to see someone actually say this.

    1. Someone who actually believes it, that is.

    2. Well, Hugh, if you think about it, there was-

      (cue Deeandra-style gagging)

    3. Well, I did see a TSA guy confiscate some terribly dangerous contact solution from a guy a few weeks ago. Can you imagine the horror in the skies that could have caused?

      1. Well, they did confiscate my toothpaste a couple of years back.

        I should have used Crest.

  6. But the FBI also infiltrated the KKK. so it wan’t all bad. Who knows maybe it kept tabs on Ron Paul’s subscriber list.

    1. I thought the FBI and the KKK used to issue joint-mission statements in the 50’s and early 60’s, but if you want to refer to it as an “infiltration,” then that’s OK too.

    2. The FBI broke the Klan in the 1960s. Had to break the law to do it, but it got done.

      The subsequent “Klan revivals” have been largely risible.

    3. Max, you’re a fuckstain. There IS no comparison between Ron Paul’s subscriber list and the Klan.

      Unless you’re a liberal.

      1. Don’t call Max that – it’s an insult to fuckstains everywhere.

    4. *slurp*

      Oh, man that’s good jizz.

  7. Why do you have the photo from the Phil Collins album “Face Value” on here? Granted, it was a decent first effort at a solo album and had “In The Air Tonight” on it, but he was much more polished by his third album, “No Jacket Required,” which had quite a similar cover as well.

    Either way, “Abacab” and “Genesis” were both a hell of a lot better than either of Collins’ first two solo efforts.

    1. Did you ever see the South Park about Collins? Pretty funny.

    2. Mike + The Mechanics albums are better than Collins’ solo efforts. Yes, I’m still bitter about what he did to Genesis after Peter Gabriel left.

      1. Agreed. Gabriel had a better career after he left though, so I doubt he’s pissed. Too many egos, I guess. Makes me wonder how the New York Times stays afloat.

        1. Gabriel’s first two solo albums are fucking awesome. How many people can pull off a cappella songs on their first solo rock album? Not many.

      2. Rutherford’s first solo album, Smallcreep’s Day. Find it, listen to it, savor it.

        The second one’s not too bad, either. Both pre-Mechanics stuff. I have both on vinyl.

        1. Vinyl? You’re a madman.

          1. I’m a madman with a very expensive, if old, direct-drive turntable I picked up on the cheap a few years before vinyl made its somewhat-meager comeback.

            I also have The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway on vinyl. And a few Frank Zappa albums. Lotsa esoteric shit. Love it love it.

        2. OMG, a Genesis-and-Spinoffs person at least as obscure as my best friend and me.

          I’ll bet you have Ant Phillips “The Geese and the Ghost”, too, don’t you…

          1. And, of course, Steve Hackett’s “Vogage of Acolyte” – epic

      3. This!

        But moreso after Hackett left. You hardly noticed Gabriel was gone with A Trick Of The Tail.

        Have you ever seen a Canadian band called The Musical Box. They are fucking unbelievable! In fact Rutherford even commented once after A london show that they did Genesis (Gabriel years) better than Genesis.

    3. sloopy, have you seen my new business card?

      1. God, do I want to answer this? I feel like I’m either on the outside of a joke or I’m walking into a trap.

    4. Do you like Phil Collins? I’ve been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn’t understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where, uh, Phil Collins’ presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group’s undisputed masterpiece. It’s an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Take the lyrics to “Land of Confusion”. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. “In Too Deep” is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as, uh, anything I’ve heard in rock. Phil Collins’ solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like “In the Air Tonight” and, uh, “Against All Odds”. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is “Sussudio”, a great, great song, a personal favorite.

      1. In the Air Tonight and some of the proceeding Genesis songs were the result of marital troubles.

  8. Wow, what a nightmare inducing picture of Axelrod!

  9. I think Jesse is about to do a Weigel and throw the rat fuckers under the bus. All this sympathy for the left is highly suspicious. Does he want us to think he’s a lot smarter than most politicos who write apologetics for the Tea party, or is he a closet leftist? Only his hair dresser knows for sure.

    1. Max cannot be pleased. Don’t even try to appease Him.

  10. I think He is not FBI.

  11. Fortunately we’ve elected a president with a clear mandate on correcting the egregious civil rights violations of George W. Bush.


  12. Except that some of these groups do commit acts the fall under terrorism. Members of PETA’s leadership have been supportive of arson attacks. The enviromental movement certainly has its own bad actors.

    I wouldn’t dismiss some of these groups out of hand.

    1. Which brings up the point that they define all of their new powers to fight “terrorism” but they don’t actually define “terrorism”. I’ve heard sheriffs call kid’s busting mail boxes with bats terrorist. Kind of scary to think about all of that power over something defined pretty much however johnny law wants to define it. Kind of like the commerce clause, no?

      1. Well, kind of like how the commerce clause has come to be!

      2. They other day, a partially burned Koran was found in the trash outside a San Francisco Islamic Center. It was reported in the news as “an attack.”

    2. “””Members of PETA’s leadership have been supportive of arson attacks. The enviromental movement certainly has its own bad actors.”””

      They do have bad actors. But arson isn’t terrorism, it’s arson.

      1. Being in a fire isn’t terrifying?

        1. Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for an hour. Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

  13. Another reminder, one of many such instances:…..t-20Feb09-

    And Democrats LOVE shit like this… when it’s not them being scrutinized for no good reason.

  14. Anyone actually surprised by this? I’m sure 10 years from now we’ll find out the same thing happened to tea parties and “right-wing” or militia types under Obama

    1. It IS happening, now, under Obama. And Democrats are all for it when it’s the other side getting snooped on by Big Bro’.

      1. That’s because we’re all ill-educated rednecks roaming the streets with our AR15s waiting for our marching orders from Rush Limbaugh et al, or something.

        1. Hey, I said it first!

    2. I read the report. If in 10 years we find out that similar activities are the limit of what’s being done now, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  15. I don’t know about the other two but in all fairness Greenpeace has rammed whaling ships.

    Is piracy terrorism? Is ramming ships piracy?

    I don’t know.

    1. I don’t think it’s terrorism, but I also don’t think the Greenpeace section of the report is the heart of the scandal. In that case the FBI was investigating people it had reason to believe were going to engage in criminal activities. They went overboard with the surveillance, but at least there was some logic to the investigation in the first place.

      The Thomas Merton Center stuff, on the other hand, is really @#*$ed up.

    2. Arrrrrggghhh …can’t be piracy, them Greenpeace swabs didn’t come back with any booty! Except maybe some from Sarah Lawrence or Bryn Mawr…..

  16. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

  17. When will Moynihan debunk/defend this?

  18. The [report] said the FBI classified these investigations as “domestic terrorism cases” … based on “potential crimes” including trespassing and vandalism “that could alternatively have been classified differently.”

    What is a “potential crime”? I suppose the FBI considered *actual* crimes including trespassing and vandalism as *potential* indications of terrorist activity. Did the FBI’s “potential crimes” include littering, swearing in public, wearing provocative T-shirts, …? (Yes, I know: RTFR.)

  19. So, the FBI has given up on protecting Molly the cartoonist, because they are too busy going after Greenpeace.

  20. “It said this was based on “potential crimes”

    like getting pulled over for speeding.

    man oh man. the crazy really is jumping out this morning! quite the bunch of drunk posters up there!

    1. doh – like getting pulled over for “suspicion that you might start speeding”.

      joe’s law! need to start drinking more (coffee)

    2. It’s what happens when you move from investigating crimes (the I in FBI), to crime prevention.

      Solving crimes isn’t good enough for them. They need to satisfy the bean counters so their crime stats are low.

  21. Let me get this st8: Any citizen can be prosecuted and put in prison for lying to the FBI, but the FBI isn’t going to be (or can’t be) prosecuted for lying to Congress?

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