Tuesday, June 9, 2015

More on FBI Surveilling Protesters

A few posts ago in "Any More Doubts (2)" , we reviewed the story of the FBI ignoring its own procedures to snoop on anti-Keystone XL pipeline protesters.  

The Guardian has a follow-up.  At least some of those protesters have been subject to ongoing invasive scrutiny even though the program supposedly ended.  One activist, Bradley Stroot, was put on a list for Secondary Security Screening Selection . A person can be put on such a watchlist with no explanation nor due process.  Being on this list makes the traveler subject to more invasive physical searches, heightened searches of possessions, and more intrusive questioning.  And this can follow one for years or even - for the foreseeable future.  Another activist was denied entry to Canada to film the aftermath of a mine disaster because she and her companion "seemed like protesters."   A third activist tells his story in the article as well.  

From the article:  "Stroot and two other people involved in the protests were described in the files as having separate, larger “Subject” files in the FBI’s Guardian Threat Tracking System, a repository for suspicious activity reports and counterterrorism threat assessments that can be searched by all FBI employees."   Also:  "the FBI files obtained by the Guardian, which detail that the FBI had advance knowledge of the TransCanada sit-in and debriefed an informant on the event after it happened. "

Is this what we want our government agencies to be doing?  Surveilling peaceful protesters?  According to the article, the investigation was closed with NO finding of extremist activity. Still, the FBI will keep records on these people.  Not only is this against our civil liberties, it is also a huge waste of taxpayers' hard-earned funds.

Think this isn't happening?  Think again.  I'm sure those activists who told their stories weren't counting on this level of scrutiny.  We should insist that our government respect the interests and civil liberties of 'We, the People.'  Isn't that what a little thing called The Constitution is supposed to be for?  We should keep demanding our government follow what is supposed to be our highest law.

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