Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Left goes into panic mode again

Shock, oh, horror!

According to the WaPo, the FBI Took Photos of Antiwar Activists in 2002:

An FBI agent in Pittsburgh photographed members of an antiwar activist group in 2002, according to documents released yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union, which said the disclosure marks the latest incident in which the FBI has monitored left-leaning groups.

An FBI report from November 2002 indicates that an agent photographed members of the Thomas Merton Center as they handed out leaflets opposing the impending war in Iraq. The report called the group a 'left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism.'

The same memo notes that one of the leaflet distributors 'appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent' but that no other participants appeared to be from the Middle East.

'All we were doing was handing out leaflets, which is a perfectly legal way to spend an afternoon,' said Tim Vining, the center's former executive director, who said he participated in the Nov. 24, 2002, protest monitored by the FBI. 'All we want to do is exercise our First Amendment rights . . . Is handing out fliers now considered a terrorist activity?'

The FBI said in a statement that the agent was 'acting with all appropriate investigative authorities' as part of an ongoing terrorism probe. The photos were destroyed once the agent determined that a person under investigation was not in attendance at the event, the FBI said.

(emphasis mine)

Isn't it appalling that the FBI took pictures of people at an event where they expected a terrorism suspect to be? They made no arrests, took no actions against any of the protestors, and, worse, they destroyed the pictures when they found out he wasn't in any of them...

How completely unconstitutionally they behaved! How totally Jedgar Hooverish!

I hate to break it to these people, but just having somebody take your snapshot is not against any law (unless you're Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the photo is used for something you didn't sign onto), and neither does it violate any constitutional limit placed upon the investigative offices designated to aid in national security. I have a sneaking suspicion that, once upon a time, my name & likeness got into somebody's official report, somewhere in the bowels of D.C. simply for having been somewhere at an interesting moment. BFD. I'm no threat to the people in power, except in the sense that I have a voice and a vote. I'm not overly worried that, next time some damfool Democrat gets himself elected, there will be a menacing knock at the door.

There's a big difference between being observed and being watched, even in time of war. These people need to get over themselves.

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