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FBI Expands Probe into Antiwar Activists

Democracy Now! speaks with two of the antiwar activists being targeted and two former FBI agents.

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And, you know, we had a recent case in Maryland where the Maryland state police were spying on political activists. And one of the activists said something very interesting to me. She said, you know, "I was a Vietnam War protester. So when I became a war protester again with the recent conflicts, I kind of assumed that the government would be spying on me. But when I finally got those records back, what scared me more than anything was that much of the information was wrong. They had me at demonstrations I wasn’t at. They had me associated with groups I wasn’t associated with. And that scared me more, because now my doing everything right and not being involved in violence wasn’t going to protect me from their errors, and I could be associated with things that I wasn’t actually doing." And that’s really a big part of the problem.

AMY GOODMAN: We only have 30 seconds, but I wanted to go back to Coleen Rowley, another former FBI agent, on a related issue, and it’s WikiLeaks. You have signed on, along with a number of other people, like Larry Wilkerson, the former chief of staff of the Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Dan Ellsberg and British intelligence employee Katharine Gun, to a letter that says WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America who thrive on secrecy are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. As we wrap up this discussion, let’s end up on WikiLeaks, Coleen.

COLEEN ROWLEY: Well, I think there’s a big tie-in between transparency and knowing what your government is doing and what we just heard Mike German mention, which is these infiltrations without factual justification of advocacy groups. The Minneapolis case seems to have stemmed a lot from the lead up to the Republican National Convention and the protests, where they simply targeted protesters. And I think that if we had more transparency and we had ways of people telling the truth about what’s going on, we would not actually see the—I’m very afraid we’re doomed to repeat that terrible history of the COINTELPRO era and the House Un-American Activities.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to have to leave it there. Coleen Rowley and Mike German, both former FBI agents. Coleen Rowley, a whistleblower named Time Person of the Year in 2002, Mike German, now with the ACLU, thanks so much for being with us.

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now! .

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