Monday, January 17, 2011

Colleen Rowley: Dissent Does Not Equal Terrorism

Colleen Rowley, a former FBI agent known for her attempt to alert the agency to one of the 9/11 hijackers before the attack, had this to say in Sunday's Star Tribune about the recent raids of peace activists' homes.

At issue is the Patriot Act (no surprise), which changed the definition of "material support of terrorism" to include "expert advice and assistance" given to "foreign terrorist organizations."

Rowley provides a couple of choice quotes showing how anti-terrorism officials think:

In 2003, a spokesman for the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center said, apparently without thinking too hard, that evidence wasn't needed to issue warnings about war protesters: "You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that's being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that [protest]. ... You can almost argue that a protest against [the war] is a terrorist act."

In a similar vein, the Department of Defense asked on its annual mandatory antiterrorism test, "What is an example of low-level terrorism activity?" The correct answer was "protest."
Following this type of logic, the FBI raided the homes of six people and the Justice Department has called them to testify at a Grand Jury investigating who knows what.

Thanks to Rowley for reminding us all of the raids. They're a bad use of taxpayer money, as well as a clear infringement of First Amendment rights.

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