Feds shared info on peaceful protesters

Feb. 17, 2009 at 3:39 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Department of Homeland Security tracked peaceful activists using information shared with the Maryland State Police, government documents show.

Maryland's two senators, Democrats Benjamin Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, and civil libertarians are worried that privacy rules may have been violated by revelations in documents obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

E-mail obtained by the newspaper indicate Homeland Security was able to track the 2005 protest plans of a peaceful Washington area anti-war group based on information shared with the Maryland State Police, whose spying activities on the DC Anti-War Network, or DAWN, have drawn much criticism.

Cardin told the Post that Homeland Security might have violated federal rules by forwarding information about a peaceful group that showed no intention of breaking the law, saying, "They exercised their right to petition their government in a lawful manner."

Homeland Security spokesman Andrew Lluberes told the newspaper the agency was merely passing on "normal information that is exchanged between law enforcement agencies," particularly because DAWN had scheduled a protest near a federal building in Silver Spring, Md.

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