The American Civil Liberties Union has received backing for its campaign to spotlight FBI spying and infiltration of anti-war activists – the backing, that is, of the Communist Party USA.
The ACLU has filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the FBI in 10 states and the District of Columbia asking for release of files of surveillance of organizations and individuals over the past four years.
The party lauded the ACLU action in an article in its People’s Weekly World newspaper titled, “Why is the government spying on us?”
The ACLU announced a week ago that it is seeking information from the FBI on why bureau task forces set up to combat terrorism also looked into anti-war, animal rights and environmental groups.
“We think it’s clear that the public is interested in the possible return of FBI spying on political and religious groups,” said Ann Beeson, the ACLU’s associate legal counsel.
The FBI denies singling out individuals or groups for surveillance or investigation based solely on activities protected by the Constitution’s guarantees of free speech.
Officials say agents adhere strictly to Justice Department guidelines requiring evidence of criminal activity or indications that a person may know something about a crime.
“Any investigation conducted by the FBI is done under the attorney general’s guidelines and in full compliance with the guidelines,” FBI spokesman Bill Carter said.
There are terrorism task forces in 100 cities and with more than 3,700 members, including at least 2,000 FBI agents, state and local police, and other federal law enforcement officials. More than half of the task forces were formed after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
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