The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report Monday absolving the FBI of charges that agents conducted investigations of domestic groups based on their exercise of First Amendment rights. The report criticizes the FBI for beginning investigations on weak factual predicates, continuing investigations longer than necessary, inappropriately retaining information on file and misclassifying investigations, and probing issues of state, rather than federal, law. The FBI reportedly monitored the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice, an anti-war activist organization based in Pittsburgh, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and Greenpeace USA . Additionally, the report indicates that Greenpeace advocates were inappropriately added to the terrorist watch list. In a response included in the report, FBI Deputy Director Timothy Murphy states that the FBI is “pleased that the Report concludes that the FBI did not target any groups for investigation on the basis of First Amendment activities.” Additionally, Murphy said the FBI “regrets that inaccurate information was provided” to Director Robert Mueller , which he subsequently presented to Congress. During a 2006 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mueller refused to answer questions about the administration’s domestic spying program , saying the information was classified.
DOJ Inspector General Report – Review of the FBI’s investigations of certain domestic advocacy groups
Posted on 21 September, 2010 by Mathias Vermeulen