Several Water Protectors have reported that agents with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force have attempted to question them.They all refused to talk to the FBI, but the fact that a Task Force charged with investigating terrorism paid these visits to peaceful activists is both chilling and unsurprising. We have documented and repeatedly called attention to the FBI’s abuse of its counterterrorism authority to surveil First Amendment protected activity.
It’s time for this to end.
Mr. Comey claims he keeps the FBI’s “suicide letter” to Martin Luther King, Jr. on his desk to remind him of the FBI’s ignoble history. Yet, his FBI continues to repeat its pattern of abuses. Deploying counterterrorism resources to investigate social movements is the norm, not the exception and it is time for this to change.
The protesters at Standing Rock have already been through enough. Local police have used fear mongering and attempts to demonize the Water Protectors as justification for deploying militarized police, setting up military style roadblocks, and arresting nearly 700 people. The visits from JTTF agents, people meant to be fighting terrorism, is yet another transparent attempt to paint the activists as dangerous.