PETA: FBI Investigated Us for Anthrax Plot

Details of 1997 investigation released
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2013 12:42 PM CDT
A passer-by, right, appears to mock anti-fur protesters who have stripped to their underwear in an attempt to persuade clothing designers to stop using animal fur in Sydney, Australia, Aug. 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

(Newser) – Not your everyday revelation: In 1997 the FBI investigated PETA over claims that the animal rights group was planning an anthrax attack on a facility near Washington, DC. The tidbit comes compliments of PETA itself, which obtained the FBI records this year through a FOIA request and passed them along to the Virginian-Pilot at the paper's request. The newspaper was alerted to their existence by a letter PETA president Ingrid Newkirk wrote for Harper's latest issue that reads in part, "It seems the FBI is bent on making those of us who have nothing to do with terrorism fit into its paranoid jigsaw puzzle."

That the FBI has monitored PETA was not news to Newkirk, but the anthrax investigation was; PETA found out about it this year (it doesn't say how). What the documents show: that the FBI received a tip from an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel that PETA was targeting the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, which performs animal testing. PETA had, the year prior, moved its headquarters from the DC area to Norfolk, Virginia, and the document indicates the FBI suspected that move was made in order to put more distance between PETA and the eventual contamination zone. It's not exactly clear how or when the anthrax probe ended. (Read more PETA stories.)

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