Civil Liberties

Keeping Tabs on Those Pacifist Terror Cells

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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.