Featured in FBI Documents, Sues for Surveillance Records


Through wars popular and not so much, has made the case from a libertarian perspective for peaceful relations and against imperialist policies since 1995. Two years ago, the group's leadership discovered they'd attracted the federal government's interest — long before — when a reader shared with them FBI documents (PDF) retrieved with a FOIA request. Now, as noted at Reason 24/7, tired of asking nicely, is suing to find out just what the feds have on them.


The suit was filed on Tuesday at the United States District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. Both Garris and Raimondo live and work in the San Francisco Bay area.

According to the suit, the ACLU has made several futile attempts to obtain the FBI files since a reader alerted Garris and Raimondo to this lengthy FBI memo in 2011. The details in question begin at page 62 of the heavily redacted 94-page document. It's clear from these documents, the suit alleges, that the FBI has files on Garris and Raimondo, and at one point the FBI agent writing the April 30, 2004 memo on recommends further monitoring of the website in the form of opening a "preliminary investigation …to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security."

"On one hand it seemed almost funny that we would be considered a threat to national security, but it's very scary, because what we are engaging in is free speech, and free speech by ordinary citizens and journalists is now being considered a threat to national security and they don't have to prove it because the government has the ability to suppress information and not disclose any of their activities – as witnessed with what is going on now at the AP and other things," said Garris.

"The government's attitude is they want to know all, but they want the public to know as little as possible."

The lawsuit isn't just a matter of curiosity, or even of principled outrage at government snoopiness. In an echo of the "chilling effect" that journalists have discussed in the wake of the secret federal subpoena of Associated Press records, and the ongoing investigation of Fox News correspondent James Rosen, reports that it has lost donors who fear attracting government attention. In the age of curiously targeted IRS interest, it's no surprise that, without making any formal moves, the government is capable of effectively punishing critical voices simply by letting it be known that they're subject to scrutiny.

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  1. *sigh*

    Kudos to Raimondo.

    1. I know it took a lot out of you to say that, but it’ll be okay. They’ll win this and then you can go back to mocking him.

    2. I hate that I have to side with that anti-Semitic cunt.

      1. But when it’s him vs. the USG, there’s just no competition.

      2. Is Raimondo actually anti-Semitic or does he just hate the Israeli government because they’re a USG ally? I mean, this is the same guy that apologizes for Russian, Venezuelan, and other dictators because they’re opponents of USG foreign policy.

    3. I wonder how many people (other than myself) decided to check out the comments just for this reaction.

      I mean, not from you, Randian, but to see how prevalent it was.

      1. I did the same.

    4. *sigh*

      Kudos to Raimondo.

      Yeah. Anytime he wants to go to war with one of the Federal government over one of their anti-Free Speech mandates, he can count on my support.

      I’m sure he’ll say something tomorrow that will remind me why I don’t like him.

  2. The government’s attitude is they want to know all, but they want the public to know as little as possible.

    That’s always been the government’s attitude. It’s just taken it a while to gut the Constitution and get powerful enough and have the technology to do it. Expect more and more of this.

    1. You know, I think you’ve hit on something. Could the entire problem be that the only archived version we have of the Constitution is on paper? Should we scan it into the Internet? Using OCR technology?

      Can’t believe no one has thought of doing this up until now. No wonder the government keeps expanding!

        1. You could make it available for download to mobile devices. Wow, just imagine how empowered everyone would be! And politicians could review it on the fly and stop violating it all of the time.

    2. They operate on a need to know basis.

      You don’t need to know. They need to know everything because how else are they supposed to know what things they need to know unless they know them?

  3. Good development since it will wake up the leftists that government snooping can bite them as well.

  4. If the Federal Government is afraid of Justin Raimodo, it must be much weaker than it appears.

    1. You said it faster than I could.

    2. is afraid of Justin Raimodo, it must be much weaker

      hasn’t his always been true, from J Edgar Hoover to Joe McCarthy to Spitzer?

    3. If the federal government only fucked with people it had reason to be afraid of, there would be a lot fewer articles and enraged commenters on this site.

      1. When does the government take on the actually dangerous? Look at our foreign policy–not like we’re invading China.

  5. …a libertarian perspective for peaceful relations and against imperialist policies since 1995.

    Get stoned and buy a private army to defend your land? I DON’T THINK SO.

    1. Hmmm… private army, eh? I have most reasonable rates, should you be looking for something in, say, a battalion commander.

  6. It’s almost like all the LIV’s just realized that the government is spying on everyone (including you).

    1. LIVs?

      1. Low information voters.

        If you follow Reason, you probably already knew the government has been spying on you. But apparently this shocks some people.

  7. The same guys who view Justin Raimondo as a threat to national security also want to be able to put your name on a kill list if they think you’re a threat to national security.

    Think about that for a moment.

    1. Does the memo make reference to Dennis making goo-goo eyes at Asian and Russian tyrants? Not that it would justify anything; I’m just curious and I cannot get the memo to load.

      1. Dennis making goo-goo eyes

        There’s a mental image I did not need.

  8. No-one has wondered what the FBI has on Reason and its staff???

    I’m sure a few staffers have files if Justin Raimondo has files on him!

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