1/4/09

Reaping What We Sow

Whoever thought unchecked executive power and domestic spying were good ideas, I've got a news story for you.

The Maryland State Police surveillance of advocacy groups was far more extensive than previously acknowledged, with records showing that troopers monitored -- and labeled as terrorists -- activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes.

Intelligence officers created a voluminous file on Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calling the group a "security threat" because of concerns that members would disrupt the circus. Angry consumers fighting a 72 percent electricity rate increase in 2006 were targeted. The DC Anti-War Network, which opposes the Iraq war, was designated a white supremacist group, without explanation.

Just to make it easier for us to be outraged, apparently the Maryland police accused Amnesty International with the dubious crime: "civil rights."

But, at least one good thing did come out of this:
The Maryland State Police have changed their policies and plan to solicit advice from the ACLU, the General Assembly, prosecutors and police about regulations that would raise the bar for intelligence-gathering to "reasonable suspicion" of a crime.
Hopefully, other law enforcement agencies will take note.

(Hat tip: Yglesias)

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