Department of Homeland Security vehicle at Albuquerque, N.M., Tax Day tea party protest (photo: Infowars)
A tea party protester claims he was investigated as a terrorist by the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI after he sent letters to his representatives criticizing the government for spending money he says the U.S. does not have.
Steve Shirk, a Tea Party Patriots blogger who attended the Atlanta Tea Party, said he began a letter-writing campaign in September 2008 to representatives, senators and the White House to express his frustration with what he considers to be irresponsible spending. He said he sent his letters through the official government websites with identifying information and indicated that he was offering his political opinion about pending legislation or governmental policy.
“The tone of my correspondence has been that of a citizen who is fed up with the government for spending money we do not have, at a time when we are experiencing economic deflation, and taking control of private business, where I believe it is in violation of the constitutional rights of business owners, shareholders, and frankly every citizen of this country,” he wrote.
Shirk said he will do anything in his power to make sure that elected officials who disregard the public’s wishes and fail to govern according to the Constitution are removed from public office.
“I have also voiced my opinion that career politicians are the antithesis of the views of the framers, and called for single term limits of any elected office,” he wrote. “In no way did I ever suggest anything other than our constitutional rights as citizens to control our government’s actions.”
But Shirk claims that on April 23 he was visited by the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI. He said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I, reported to the FBI that he was endangering the government and should be investigated as a suspected terrorist.
Shirk said he has specifically objected to TARP bailouts, the Economic Recovery Act, the omnibus spending bill and President Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget, among other issues. He said the FBI agent was polite and respectful, explaining why he had been targeted and by whom.
“He agreed that I have the constitutional right to express my dissatisfaction with government policy,” Shirk wrote. “The last thing he said to me was to advise that I keep expressing my opinions.”
A spokesman from Sen. Whitehouse’s office said he was unfamiliar with Shirk’s allegations.
“We have no idea where that came from,” he said.
Another spokesperson did not return messages asking for further comment on the incident.
But Shirk said the more he thought about the incident, the more he became upset.
“Is this where we are headed?” he wrote. “Is this the Socialistic Fascism the current majority is pushing on the American people to be followed by not only political Fascism, but tyranny at the hands of our Federal law enforcement agencies at the direction of political hacks? Is this the last of it, or am I now identified somewhere as a terrorist threat to be watched?”
As WND reported, the Department of Homeland Security issued an “extremist” report called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” that linked 2nd Amendment supporters, pro-life activists and others with terror. WND has posted the report online for readers to see.
It linked returning veterans with the possibility of terrorism and when it was released, created such a furor for Napolitano she has given several explanations for it, including that she would have reworded the report and that it was issued by a rogue employee.
The report was issue only one week before the nationwide Tax Day tea party protest.
At the Sacramento, Calif., tea party, Air Force reservist Sgt. Kevin Steele told WND he was baffled by the DHS report and felt a deep sense of betrayal.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I’m the guy they’re watching now? Give me a break!”
He continued, “You can send me over there and put a weapon in my hands, and now you worry about me? It’s disappointing and disheartening.”
Napolitano later apologized to veterans for having linked them to terror.
The report also targeted as “potential terrorists” Americans who:
- Oppose abortion
- Oppose same-sex marriage
- Oppose restrictions on firearms
- Oppose lax immigration laws
- Oppose the policies of President Obama regarding immigration, citizenship, and the expansion of social programs
- Oppose continuation of free trade agreements
- Are suspect of foreign regimes
- Fear Communist regimes
- Oppose a “one world” government
- Bemoan the decline of U.S. stature in the world
- Are upset with loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and India, and more
According to the Northeast Intelligence Network, an unnamed FBI agent said the agency also spied on tea party protesters during the Tax Day demonstrations in a covert operation beginning on or about March 23.
The source claimed a single-page confidential directive issued by the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., was sent to 56 field offices across the nation. The document instructed special agents in charge to verify date, time and location of each tea party and report the information to FBI headquarters. The agents were also allegedly required to list individuals involved in planning and coordinating the events.
According to the source, surveillance was to be conducted from “discreet fixed or mobile positions” and performed “independently and outside of the purview of local law enforcement.”
An official at the Washington, D.C., FBI headquarters told WND he could not comment on the agent’s claims.
While a tea partier in Albuquerque, N.M., sent a photo to Infowars of a Homeland Security vehicle at the April 15 event he attended, another blogger wrote, “They made an announcement at the Tea Party I attended, ‘Smile, you are being watched.’ But they said it in a way as to blame the left for it. … as if the right would never do anything like that.”