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December 20, 2005
What A Shock! The FBI Investigates Domestic Terrorism!

The New York Times has yet Another Major Scoop for the completely clueless. After informing the nation that the NSA intercepts international communications last Friday, the Gray Lady now spills the beans that the FBI investigates domestic terrorism and has jurisdiction to conduct intelligence operations to prevent it:

Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.

F.B.I. officials said Monday that their investigators had no interest in monitoring political or social activities and that any investigations that touched on advocacy groups were driven by evidence of criminal or violent activity at public protests and in other settings.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, John Ashcroft, who was then attorney general, loosened restrictions on the F.B.I.'s investigative powers, giving the bureau greater ability to visit and monitor Web sites, mosques and other public entities in developing terrorism leads. The bureau has used that authority to investigate not only groups with suspected ties to foreign terrorists, but also protest groups suspected of having links to violent or disruptive activities.

The best part of this story is the anguished cries of PETA and Greenpeace, who have served as the American Sinn Fein to the terrorists of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front for years. One quoted source said that the FBI had "punished" PETA for its social activism. Another spokesman claims that Greenpeace causes no property damage or physical injury, a claim that the loss of their ship and the destruction of a coral bed they wanted to save might negate somewhat.

No one got punished for anything, and this handwringing is getting absolutely silly. Domestic terrorists, especially ecoterrorists, caused $100 million in damage over the past decade. With that kind of track record, the FBI will certainly be looking at the economic structure that allows them to continue their operations. As long as they do so in a legal manner -- a point which Eric "The Sky Is Falling" Lichtblau never gets around to making in his screed -- then what's the problem?

When will the New York Times grow up?

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 20, 2005 7:33 AM

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Tracked on December 20, 2005 2:06 PM


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