The ACLU has denounced a classified FBI Intelligence memo, obtained by the New York Times, which gives police detailed instructions on how to target and monitor lawful political demonstrations under the rubric of fighting terrorism. The ability to speak freely and peacefully protest governmental policies is a cherished right, as enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Peaceful protesters should not be treated as potential terrorists nor spied upon by federal government agents. According to the New York Times, the memo was circulated to local law enforcement agencies around the country, detailing protest activities such as rehearsing for demonstrations, using the Internet for raising money and purchasing gas masks. The ACLU has already seen proof that peaceful activities have been monitored. Documents from the Colorado “Spy Files” include information collected about peaceful protests and protesters.

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