Just shy of the one-year anniversary of the inaugural Occupy Wall Street protests, the ACLU of Northern California obtained initial documents from the FBI about surveillance of Occupy demonstrations in the region (see the FBI’s response here).
The documents came after an ACLU-NC lawsuit filed after the FBI refused to release any documents in a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents are significant for two reasons:
First, they finally confirm what until now have only been suspicions that the FBI was conducting surveillance of the Occupy movement.
Second, the FBI is refusing to hand over documents “in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.” In other words, to the FBI, political protests about economic policy pose an unspecified threat to national security.
The FBI has a troubling history of spying on political activists. We’re concerned that in 2012, history is still repeating.