No, the FBI will probably not leave environmentalists alone.
To celebrate Earth Day, we’ll take a look at some blog posts from the past several years that document the FBI’s use of the treat of homegrown terrorism to justify a secret campaign of surveillance, harassment, and entrapment against the environmental activists and groups, which continues to this day.
In 2005, the FBI testified before Congress that “Investigating and preventing animal rights extremism and eco-terrorism is one of the FBI’s highest domestic terrorism priorities. We are committed to working with our partners to disrupt and dismantle these movements and to bring to justice those who commit crime in the name of animal or environmental rights.”
In 2004, the FBI launched an elaborate sting operation to ensnare 26 year-old environmentalist Eric McDavid using “Anna,” a young paid informant to emotionally manipulate him. McDavid was arrested in 2006 and sentenced to 19 years in prison for conspiring to blow up a dam. He was released ten years early, in January, 2015, when documents revealed that the FBI had been spying on McDavid before they sent “Anna” in, and that surveillance showed no predisposition to engage in any violence. He had been entrapped, plain and simple. Read more.
In 2010, the Department of Justice Inspector General released a report on FBI political spying, which included a chapter on FBI investigations into Greenpeace activities from 1999-2007. The investigations were incorrectly categorized as counter terrorism investigations, surveillance lasted for years, and the names of innocent Greenpeace activists were added to the terror watch list. Read more.
In 2013 and 2014, as the movement against the Keystone Pipeline and against fracking heated up, the FBI began to knock on the doors of activists in the Pacific Northwest and in Pennsylvania and the Great Plains.
In addition, the FBI cooperated extensively with TransCanada, the corporation building the pipeline, exchanging information and photos of activists with the company. The company explicitly advocated for charging nonviolent protesters with terrorism-related offenses, and in at least one case, succeeded.