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The FBI illegally spied on American Citizens & was politically motivated...what should happen with this?

NEW YORK, Sep 21 (IPS) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) improperly spied on U.S. activists involved in First Amendment-protected activities and mischaracterised nonviolent civil disobedience as terrorism, which placed innocent activists on terror watch lists, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) charged Tuesday in response to a new report by the Justice Department's Inspector General.

Inspector General Glenn A. Fine undertook his investigation after a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU uncovered evidence that "the FBI was chilling political association and improperly investigating peaceful advocacy groups", the civil rights group said in a statement.


Asked by sweet-a-kins at 3:17 PM on Sep. 22, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
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Answers (13)
  • That is true,Sweets. And J Edgar Hoover tried to frame Martin Luther King for all sorts of immoral and illegal things that he never did. COINTELPRO was the sneaky FBI program in place to discredit MLK. ANd other efforts. Ugh. Hoover was a disgusting man.
    Actually most of the Intelligence Agencies abuse their power.

    Answer by gertie41 at 7:29 PM on Sep. 22, 2010

  • Putting people on terrorist watch lists because they don't agree with the government feels a little too scary to me. Next thing you know I'm not going to be allowed to go to Canada because I think the healthcare bill sucks.

    Answer by lovinangels at 4:14 PM on Sep. 22, 2010

  • Freedom of speech, does not mean freedom from prosecution if said speech could be viewed as threatening.

    There is a lunatic who writes in the "Letters to the Editor" section of the Lehigh Valley, PA newspaper (The Express Times). His name is Dan Tilli--we call him "Silly Tilli!" LOL

    Anyway, he wrote a letter printed in the "Letters" section, and was promptly visited by two Secret Service agents. The agents checked him out, realized he wasn't a threat to Bush (whom he referenced), and allowed to go about his business.

    I have no problem with the FBI, CIA or Secret Service INVESTIGATING or MONITORING the "chatter" of people who may take their dissent just a wee bit too far! all we up in arms when Bush instituted the Patriot Act, but there was nary a chirp when Obama EXTENDED it!!


    Answer by LoriKeet at 4:11 PM on Sep. 22, 2010

  • which placed innocent activists on terror watch lists

    My first reaction at that time of the Patriot Act~ we were up against a different kind of enemy... We didn't know who we could trust. But then the more I hear, the more I question the motive and direction. But, really is it anymore 'right or wrong' than an administration setting up a snitch website called, then having the ability to track? Or the Dept of Homeland Security targeting tea party groups as extremists? Or an administration/politician expanding the very program they 'fought against' (Patriot Act) before becoming President. Or hell even an administration tracking cell phones without warrants (both Bush and Obama).... Legal authority is a fine line.

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 4:16 PM on Sep. 22, 2010

  • It was definitely wrong, no matter WHO they improperly spied on. As to what should be done? I don't know. I don't know who can guard the guardians.

    Answer by gdiamante at 4:00 PM on Sep. 22, 2010

  • I'm sure it goes on to this very day and it's wrong no matter when it is done

    Answer by itsmesteph11 at 3:57 PM on Sep. 22, 2010

  • The FBI has been spying on ordinary citizens and famous people,politcians,etc for over 60 years. When J Edgar Hoover was the head of the FBI (until his death in 1972) he kept files on thousands of politicians, movie stars, reporters, people he "just didn't like" and used the files as blackmail material and a way to control people,especially politicians,Presidents. So...this is nothing new.
    Spying on people and using information for the beneifit of the FBI...or the CIA ,ONI, any of the Intelligence agencies can be a valuable thing and defend our interests ...unless it is done for inappropriate reasons. It seems to be in need of some regulations,IMO.
    Then there WAS Nixon's Enemies List. LOL. People like Paul Newman,of all people, were on his List and he asked some of his CIA buddies to tap phones,etc. Power corrupts.

    Answer by gertie41 at 5:05 PM on Sep. 22, 2010

  • Michael German, ACLU Senior Policy Counsel and a former FBI agent, told IPS, "Basically what the IG report shows is that the FBI spied on a lot of political activists for no good reason. This wasn't just a waste of time and resources that could have been better spent looking at real criminals and terrorists, it had real consequences for the victims, getting them placed in terrorism databases and watchlists that led to more spying and travel delays. And unfortunately in many of the cases, the IG said the FBI's rules allowed this inappropriate spying."


    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 3:17 PM on Sep. 22, 2010

  • Part of that America Land of the Free.  Ja right.


    Answer by momentofpeace at 5:31 PM on Sep. 22, 2010

  • Then there WAS Nixon's Enemies List. LOL. People like Paul Newman,of all people, were on his List and he asked some of his CIA buddies to tap phones,etc. Power corrupts.

    John Lennon and Martin Luther King as well were spied on


    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 5:32 PM on Sep. 22, 2010