Post-9/11, FBI Tracks Some Unlikely Terrorists

Without much 'real' terrorism, FBI targets government critics
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2011 6:56 AM CDT
The FBI has been criticized for being overly vigilant in its hunt for domestic terrorists, targeting minor activists who have little real risk of violence.    (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The FBI has combed through Scott Crow's email, phone records, and garbage, installed a camera across the street from his home, and infiltrated his political meetings with at least five informants. His crimes? A few trespassing charges stemming from political demonstrations. But in the wake of 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing, the FBI has increasingly turned its attentions to domestic political activists. Crow, a 44-year-old vegan and self-proclaimed anarchist who earns $32,000 a year at a recycling plant, acquired his 440-page FBI file through the Freedom of Information Act, discovering many sections labeled "Domestic Terrorism."

“But first, it makes me laugh,” Crow tells the New York Times. “It’s just a big farce that the government’s created such paper tigers. Al-Qaeda and real terrorists are hard to find. We’re easy to find. It’s outrageous that they would spend so much money surveilling civil activists, and anarchists in particular, and equating our actions with al-Qaeda.” The FBI's zeal to uncover all possible domestic terrorism has led it to overreact, investigating activists who have little risk of terrorism, says Michael German, a former FBI agent who works at the ACLU. “You have a bunch of guys and women all over the country sent out to find terrorism. Fortunately, there isn’t a lot of terrorism in many communities,” German said. “So they end up pursuing people who are critical of the government.”

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