Does this strike anyone else as completely inappropriate?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been questioning political demonstrators across the country, and in rare cases even subpoenaing them, in an aggressive effort to forestall what officials say could be violent and disruptive protests at the Republican National Convention in New York.F.B.I. officials are urging agents to canvass their communities for information about planned disruptions aimed at the convention and other coming political events, and they say they have developed a list of people who they think may have information about possible violence. They say the inquiries, which began last month before the Democratic convention in Boston, are focused solely on possible crimes, not on dissent, at major political events.But some people contacted by the F.B.I. say they are mystified by the bureau's interest and felt harassed by questions about their political plans."The message I took from it," said Sarah Bardwell, 21, an intern at a Denver antiwar group who was visited by six investigators a few weeks ago, "was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests and to let us know that, 'hey, we're watching you.'"THERE'S MORE: "The intelligence unit of the New York Police Department has been closely monitoring Web sites run by self-described anarchists," the AP says. "It also has sought to infiltrate protest groups with young, scruffy-looking officers posing as activists."AND MORE: The FBI has also paid a little visit recently to John Young, who runs the always-informative Cryptome.org site. Young's sin, apparently, was posting publicly-available information about questionable security at the Convention sites in New York and Boston.
"They said, 'Why didn't you call us about this? Why are you telling the public?' And we said, 'Because it's out there and you can see it. You folks weren't doing anything,' " Young told ABC News.The agents, according to Young, stressed they knew that nothing on the site was illegal. Young added: "They said, 'What we'd like you to do, if you're approached by anyone that you think intends to harm the United States, we're asking you to let us know that.' " (via Boing Boing)AND MORE: "I have visited a few of those protest sites," writes Defense Tech reader WW. " They give specific instructions on how to tie up traffic, cripple police horses, disable police dogs and generally deny to others the right to peaceably go about their business, then try to cover themselves with a disclaimer that they are not advocating the breaking of any laws. A failure to investigate a criminal conspiracy like this would be dereliction of duty."