FBI Facing Scrutiny Over Occupy Wall Street
Posted by Robert Meyers on Jan 22, 2013 - 3:49:15 PM
UNITED STATES—According to unclassified and heavily redacted documents released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last month, the FBI extensively monitored the Occupy Wall Street movement starting as early as August 2011, and utilized counter-terrorism agents and other surveillance resources, according to the documents.
The unclassified documents showed that the agency was coordinating with local law enforcement across the nation in an effort to continuously keep tabs on protests, planning meetings and perceived threats to federal property.
The request for the release of the documents was filed by the non-profit Organization Partnership for Civil Justice Fund through the Freedom of Information Act.
"These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the organization, in a statement.
One such document was a Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC) Liaison Information report (LIR). DSAC LIR’s are issued to convey timely, actionable information and are intended for corporate security forces, according to a header contained within the report.
A DSAC LIR from Dec, 9 2011 documenting a perceived threat by the Occupy movement to ports on the west coast cited, "The potential impacts of the port shutdowns include transit delays, blocked roads, commercial, disruptions, and possible violence.”
The report also outlined steps that those reading reports could take to avoid any potential harm, “Civil unrest can range in form from small, organized rallies to large scale demonstrations and rioting. People may be harmed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Following are suggested safety tips.”
One of the tips urged readers to, “Avoid all large gatherings related to civil issues. Even seemingly peaceful rallies can spur violent activity or be met with resistance by security forces. Bystanders may be arrested or harmed by security forces using water cannons, tear gas, or other measures to control crowds.”
Much of the unclassified documentation is heavily redacted and covers security meetings being held with Homeland Security and local law enforcement agencies in California, Iowa, New York, and Florida; to name just a few.
One report detailed a plot by to assassinate Occupy Wall street leaders with a sniper rifle.
“An identified [redacted] in October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas, if deemed necessary. An identified [redacted] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [Redacted] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles,” the report said.
The F.B.I. has come much under criticism in utilizing counter-terrorism agents and conducting surveillance on organizations involved in civil and social issues since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
The FBI responded to the release of the documents stating that it recognizes the rights of individuals and groups to engage in constitutionally protected activity, but must take precautions to deal with any potential threats of violence.
Detailed in one report released from the Des Moines FBI in Iowa, an Occupy Iowa protestor requested a meeting with local Law enforcement and liaisons from the Des Moines F.B.I.
Investigators from the state police, Des Moines Police Department and F.B.I. were present when the protestor aired her concerns about some of the activities within the local movement, according to the report. However when asked if she [the protestor] had any specific concerns in regard to public safety, officer safety, or criminal activity; the protester told the investigators that she had no such knowledge.
The protestor in question offered her email and facebook account information and passwords to authorities, when she was advised that, “law enforcement would not and could not acknowledge her consent to access her social sites,” and was further advised to contact authorities if any information was found regarding public safety, officer safety or criminal activity.