As activists and journalists debate whether Homeland Security and the CIA are actively involved in the recent domestic crackdown on the Occupy movement, evidence mounts that the progressive populist movement is being targeted by COINTELPRO style repressive tactics.

Four of the seven Occupy Columbus activists who were arrested on November 15 appeared at pre-trial before a Franklin County municipal judge on Thursday, January 5, 2012. The four had pled not guilty after being charged with “negligent trespassing” for entering the lobby of a US Bank. The activists were touring Columbus banks to inquire about their banking policies. Two of the Occupy activists have pled guilty to a minor misdemeanor trespass charge, and one has not entered a plea.

At the January 5 hearing, the four turned down a plea deal from the prosecutors and received a continuance. They will reappear for another scheduled pre-trial on February 9.

At this moment the four appear ready for a full blown trial that may possibly reveal ties between federal and local police authorities regarding surveillance of the Occupy movement.

Initial discovery in the case revealed that bank employees did not call the Columbus police when the Occupy activists entered their building. Rather, police reports establish that law enforcement was “monitoring” the Occupy movement and the police planned their arrest at the bank in advance.

Recently, attorney and journalist Kevin Zeese reported that Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, filed under the Freedom of Information Act requesting any documents held by Central Intelligence Agency relating to the Occupy movement. Documents have been requested by other federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security. Thus far, the CIA has refused to comply with the request.

Officially, President Obama has declared that every municipality has to make a decision on how to handle the Occupy movement. Rick Ellis at the cited an anonymous Justice Department official claiming that the crackdowns on the Occupy movement in New York City, Oakland, Portland, Denver, and Salt Lake City were coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other police agencies.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan sparked the debate over the role of federal security and police agencies when she told the BBC that she had participated in a conference call with officials from other cities to discuss their shared concerns about the Occupy encampments.

Mother Jones reported that at the U.S. Conference of Mayors coordinated conference calls between federal law enforcement officials and 18 city mayors concerning the Occupy movement.

From New York to Los Angeles, increasing accounts of questionable police tactics have been reported. RT TV reported that, “Officers within the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department have confirmed that undercover cops infiltrated the Occupy LA encampment and conducted clandestine surveillance on the protesters in the days leading up to last month’s raid and eviction.” Earlier in November, RT TV also reported that “Bloomberg’s office admits to arresting journalists for covering OWS.”

The question for the Occupy movement is whether the Obama administration has signed off on the equivalent of an illegal unconstitutional disruption campaign similar to the MH CHAOS campaign conducted by the CIA, NSA and FBI to stifle and suppress activism in the 1960s. Established in 1967, including Project RESISTANCE where the CIA worked with local police, campus security and college administrators to harass peace activists and political dissidents.