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Boston Globe Editorial Says FBI Guilty of “Red-Baiting at its Worst”

fbi logo largeBy The Boston Globe
Editorial

GREENPEACE, THE Catholic Worker, the Thomas Merton Center — none of these groups had the remotest connection to 9/11 or terrorism. And the FBI had no business investigating them — with no evidence other than a suspicion of left-wing organizations in wartime.

This was shameful red-baiting at its worst. The best thing to say about it is that a Justice Department report cleared the FBI of investigating targeted groups to deliberately stifle their “First Amendment activities.’’ But the net effect was the same.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General report released this week pulled few punches in admonishing the FBI for targeting anti-war groups and advocacy organizations with no apparent justification, and for placing non-violent activists in those groups on terrorist watch lists. The report chastised the bureau for having a “weak’’ rationale for some of its investigations; investigating where there was “little indication of any possible federal crimes’’; and extending “the duration of investigations involving advocacy groups or their members without adequate basis.’’

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