Advertisement

Activists sound alarm over FBI probe

Activists sound alarm over FBI probe
The Department of Justice is seen in Washington on February 20, 2011. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- An FBI probe begun in 2010 has sparked protests against the U.S. Justice Department and may create political tension for President Obama and union supporters.

The apparent targets of the investigation include several Chicagoans whose paths crossed with Obama when he was an Illinois state senator and some who were active in labor unions that backed his political rise, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Advertisement

The investigation so far has involved 23 subpoenas and raids of seven homes. Search warrants, documents and interviews with the Post indicate investigators are looking into possible "material support" for Colombian and Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. government as terrorists.

The apparent targets -- all loud critics of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and South America -- deny any link to terrorism. They accuse the government of targeting them for their political views.

The targets are "public non-violent activists with long, distinguished careers in public service, including teachers, union organizers and antiwar and community leaders," Michael Deutsch, a Chicago lawyer and part of a legal team defending people who believe they're the focus of the investigation, told the Post.

All 23 subpoenaed activists invoked their right not to testify before a grand jury, defying U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, whose office is spearheading the investigation.

Advertisement

The Post said it is unknown whether Obama knows of the investigation. A White House official referred questions to the Justice Department, where spokesman Matthew Miller said the agency would not comment, but disagreed with claims that people would be investigated for political activities.

The activists formed the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, to organize phone banks to deluge Attorney General Eric Holder's office and the White House with calls, solicit letters from labor unions and faith-based groups and send delegations to Congress to drum up support from lawmakers.

The major national labor organizations have not gotten involved and are considered likely to support Obama's re-election bid next year. Some state and local union groups told the Post they're concerned because the government seems to be examining efforts by workers to build ties with trade unionists in other countries.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement