Federal Agency Aided
Homeland Security Dept. Gave Information to State Police
By Lisa Rein
Tuesday, February 17, 2009; B01
Maryland State Police, which had previously labeled the activists as
terrorists in an intelligence file.
The federal agency obtained two e-mails containing plans for upcoming
demonstrations at a military recruiting center in
the first indication that DHS might have worked with the police to
monitor advocacy groups. The notification by DHS appears in a state
police file on the DC Anti-War Network, or DAWN, provided to The
The file is one of five created by the state police on the antiwar
group in 2005 and 2006. Along with 53 individuals and about two dozen
other protest groups, including Amnesty International and CASA of
police database. Police have said the names were not put on federal
An entry in the D.C. network's file dated June 21, 2005, notes that the
DHS office in
group, the name of which was redacted from the document provided to The
Post. The state police file states: "Activists [from DAWN] are going to
stage several small (12-15) weekly demonstrations at the
become weekly vigils." According to the file, the protests were
The DHS intelligence work has alarmed civil liberties groups and
Maryland's U.S. senators, who are concerned that police shared with
federal authorities personal details about the activists swept into
their widely criticized spying operation. In a letter two weeks ago
responding to their inquiry about the spying, DHS told
Benjamin L. Cardin (D) and Barbara A. Mikulski (D) and Sen. Russell
Feingold (D-Wis.) that an "exhaustive review" of the agency's records
and databases found that none of the activists' names were shared with
But Cardin, who last week was named chairman of a Senate subcommittee
on terrorism and homeland security, said he has not received "all the
direct answers I need." He said DHS might have violated federal rules by
forwarding information about a peaceful group that showed no intention
of breaking the law. "They exercised their right to petition their
government in a lawful manner," Cardin said in an interview.
In a letter to Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano to be
released today, Mikulski and Feingold demand that the agency "reexamine"
its files to determine how the e-mails on DAWN were obtained and whether
they were sent to the
"The information reportedly received from DHS describes only
First-Amendment protected activity," the letter states. "This evidence
raises several questions, particularly in light of your inability to
locate records in response to our previous inquiry."
DHS spokesman Andrew Lluberes said the agency was passing on "normal
information that is exchanged between law-enforcement agencies,"
particularly because the
building. "It happens every day," he said. The information was most
likely taken off the Internet, he said, although he did not know why the
But the organizer of the protests said federal agents would have had to
infiltrate DAWN e-mail lists to gain access to the messages.
"They would have had to join our group as a member,'' said Pat Elder of
recruitment in high schools. He said he was in contact in 2005 with an
used by protesters against the
have called needless military deaths. The antiwar group was dissolved
about 18 months ago, the result of "the natural ebb and flow of the
peace movement," Elder said.
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