ACLU: FBI Documents
This article from the ACLU main site peaked my interest today. You can find the original article here
Government Has Amassed Thousands of Pages on National Peace and Civil Rights Organizations
NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union today revealed that the FBI has amassed more than 1,100 pages of documents on its organization since 2001, as well as documents concerning other non-violent groups including Greenpeace and United for Peace and Justice.
"We now know that the government is keeping documents about the ACLU and other peaceful groups - the question is why," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero.
"We are urging the court to order that these documents be turned over immediately," he added. "If the FBI has nothing to hide, it should release the documents promptly. The government’s claim that it needs nine more months to turn over these documents is a stalling tactic," Romero said, referring to the FBI’s request for more time to "process" the 1,173 pages of documents it says it has on the ACLU.
The ACLU also revealed today the contents of a report on United for Peace and Justice, a national peace organization that coordinates non-violent protests. The document, sections of which are redacted, is addressed to FBI "Counterrorism" personnel and quotes from UFPJ’s website calling for a public demonstration prior to the 2004 Republican National Convention.
The document was released in response to an ACLU lawsuit filed two months ago to expedite its FOIA request for FBI surveillance files on the ACLU, Greenpeace, United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
"The UFPJ report underscores our concern that the FBI is violating Americans’ right to peacefully assemble and oppose government policies without being branded as terrorist threats," said Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU. "There is no need to open a counterterrorism file when people are simply exercising their First Amendment rights."
The ACLU has launched a nationwide effort to expose and prevent FBI spying on people and groups simply for speaking out or practicing their faith. In addition to the FOIA request on behalf of the national organizations, the ACLU has filed similar requests on behalf of more than 100 groups and individuals in 16 states and the District of Columbia. The ACLU is seeking information about the FBI’s use of Joint Terrorism Task Forces and local police to engage in political surveillance. The requests were filed in response to widespread complaints from students and political activists who said they were questioned by FBI agents in the months leading up to the 2004 political conventions.
The FOIAs seek two kinds of information: 1) the actual FBI files of groups and individuals targeted for speaking out or practicing their faith; 2) information about how the practices and funding structure of the task forces, known as JTTFs, are encouraging rampant and unwarranted spying.
I find this article pretty funny because the ACLU is complaining that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has investigated them and gathered information about them. It's almost as if the ACLU is beginning to cry about the FBI doing their jobs, that has never happened before though right?
The ACLU says that if the FBI has nothing to hide they shouldn't keep the documents to themselves, however what is the ACLU so scared of that they have to have the documents? It seems to be hypocritical for the ACLU to call for these documents. After the ACLU has expressed their dismay they try to cover it up with a "we are protecting you by doing this" scheme when they say "The ACLU has launched a nationwide effort to expose and prevent FBI spying on people and groups simply for speaking out or practicing their faith."
The truth is the ACLU either A) Wants another reason to complain about the federal government or B) Is actually worried about what the FBI knows.
I hate to think that the downfall of America is going to be America but it's leading that way. It seems we are the next Rome, through our own corroption and inner turmoil we will perish and our "empire" will crumble. I'm not trying to be chicken little here but I really do wish that our government would be allowed to do their jobs. The government is not the must corruption free orginization by far so don't get me wrong. However, when they are actually trying to do something that falls within their job description it'd be nice to let them do it. Groups are needed to keep the government in check but not to restrict them from doing their job and making their private records known.