From the Knight Ridder news service via Common Dreams News Center:
An FBI counterterrorism unit monitored - and apparently infiltrated - a peace group in Pittsburgh that opposed the invasion of Iraq, according to internal agency documents released on Tuesday.
The disclosure raised new questions about the extent to which federal authorities have been conducting surveillance operations against Americans since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.Previous revelations include FBI monitoring of environmental and animal rights organizations, scrutiny of anti-war organizations by a top-secret Pentagon program and eavesdropping by the National Security Agency on domestic communications without court authorization.
Federal officials insist that the efforts are legal, although the Pentagon has admitted that the top-secret TALON program mistakenly retained in its database reports on scores of anti-war protests and individuals as part of an effort to identify terrorist threats against defense facilities and personnel.
The documents released on Tuesday were obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act. They showed that the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI's Pittsburgh office conducted a secret investigation into the activities of the Thomas Merton Center beginning as early as Nov. 29, 2002, and continuing as late as March 2005.
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