FBI investigated Greenpeace for terror links after 9/11
Published 22/09/2010 | 10:30
The FBI improperly opened investigations into Greenpeace and other animal rights and anti-war groups after the September 11 attacks of 2001, the US government has admitted.
A US Department of Justice review found that FBI agents also put names of some Greenpeace members on terrorist watch lists based on evidence that turned out to be "factually weak".
The review concluded that the FBI did not deliberately target the groups, as many civil liberties advocates had charged after anti-Iraq war rallies and other protests during the Bush administration.
Inspector-General Glenn Fine said the FBI tactics were "troubling" because they singled out some of domestic groups for investigations that ran for up to five years and were extended "without adequate basis".
He said: "In several cases there was little indication of any possible federal crimes. In some cases, the FBI classified some investigations relating to non-violent civil disobedience under its Acts of Terrorism classification."
As well as Greenpeace, groups that were investigated included People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and anti-war groups the Catholic Worker and the Thomas Merton Centre in Pittsburgh.
Timothy Murphy, FBI deputy director, defended the investigations, saying they were launched after tips suggested potential criminal activities. "We are pleased the report concludes the FBI did not target any groups for investigation on the basis of their First Amendment activities."