Sep 252010
 September 25, 2010  Posted by  Surveillance

In light of recent disclosures about illegal conduct by the FBI who then lied to Congress about surveillance of those who were simply engaging in peaceful protest, new reports that the FBI has been engaging in raids of anti-war activists’ homes raises a number of obvious questions.

Michael (“Mick”) Kelly, one of those whose residences were searched yesterday, is a a food service worker at the University of Minnesota and a member of a socialist organization, FRSO, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.  The Kelly warrant was signed by a federal magistrate in Minnesota on September 23, and the search was executed yesterday morning. The government application for the warrant indicates that the government is looking for evidence of “Providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”

Kelly was also subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Illinois on October 19th and is commanded to bring with him much of the same material which the FBI probably seized pursuant to the Minnesota warrant.  The grand jury hearing that produced the subpoena was held in August 2009.

The Chicago Tribune and New York Times provide coverage of the raids and Steve Karnowsky of The Associated Press reported:

FBI spokesman Steve Warfield tells The Associated Press that six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago were served about 7 a.m. Friday. Warfield says the FBI is seeking “evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism.” ….. Warfield wouldn’t comment on whose homes were searched. But he says the FBI doesn’t anticipate any immediate arrests and says there’s no “imminent threat to the community.”

“Imminent threat?” I think some of us wonder whether there is any threat at all. Michael Kelly spoke with The Uptake while the raid was ongoing:

Of concern, this really does smell a bit like a fishing expedition targeting a group that has opposed U.S. policies. But opposing U.S. policies doesn’t get you to providing material support to a terrorist organization. Where are the sworn affidavits showing that the FBI has at least some evidence that FRSO members are engaging in such activity?    Please show me how this is any different than what many of us lived through in the 60s and 70s when the government spied on its own citizens because we engaged in lawful activities that condemned our government’s actions and policies. Or show me how this is really justified and not just more of the same kind of egregious conduct for which the FBI was just criticized.

The OIG and Congress need to immediately investigate the situation with the FBI and FRSO to see if there has been an abuse of the FBI’s authority and if constitutional rights are being violated.

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