Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Report: FBI broke internal rules for Keystone XL protesters

The FBI has broken internal rules in investigating activists opposed to the Keystone XL oil pipeline, according to a report.

The Houston field office investigated Keystone protesters between 2012 and 2014, but did not get necessary approval from office attorneys, as is required by protocol for probes involving controversial political matters, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

Documents obtained by the Guardian through public records requests also show details about how the FBI dealt with Keystone opponents. The files emphasize the benefits of the proposed pipeline and refer to its opponents as “environmental extremists.”
FBI agents gathered inside information about upcoming protests, recording identities of people photographing oil infrastructure and established at least one confidential informant with intimate knowledge of protesters’ plans.

They focused on Tar Sands Blockade, an activist group focused in the Houston area, where Keystone XL is planned to end, bringing oil sands from Canada through the middle of the United States.

The actions were, at least initially, in “substantial non-compliance” with rules on controversial political matters, the FBI admitted to the Guardian.

Ron Seifert, an organizer for the group, told the Guardian multiple activists had been arrested, but none were accused of violent crimes or property destruction.

The FBI defended its actions to the Guardian and said that it worked quickly to get the necessary approvals and report the non-compliance to the correct authorities.

It said it was compelled to “take the initiative to secure and protect activities and entities which may be targeted for terrorism or espionage.”

Source:  http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/241710-fbi-broke-internal-rules-for-keystone-xl-protesters


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