October 18, 2010

Letter to MN Senator Klobuchar from the Minnesota Peace Project

Dear Senator Klobuchar:

On Friday, September 24th, the office of the Twin Cities-based Anti-War Committee, and six homes in Chicago and Minneapolis were raided by the FBI.  The Anti-War Committee’s database, as well as individuals’ personal computers, cell phones, and political papers were seized in order to investigate alleged “material support for terrorism.”   Fourteen anti-war activists have been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in Chicago, including members of the Anti-War Committee and the Co-chair of Twin-Cities-based Women Against Military Madness.

These actions appear to have been designed to intimidate the peace community.   When MPP met with Joe Campbell on September 28 to express our grave concern about these actions, we were told that Tom Sullivan was working on the matter but that there wasn’t really anything that your office could do at the time.  We hope that you and your staff are reconsidering this perspective now that you’ve had time to reflect and further consider the options.  We ask you to take the following actions to honor the Constitution and protect law-abiding Americans from FBI over-reach:

1)  Propose a revision to the Patriot Act to restore U.S. citizens’ First Amendments rights.  The Patriot Act, passed shortly after 9/11, strengthened the 1996 Material Aid to Terrorism Act by adding “advice and assistance” to the previous understanding of material aid such as giving weapons or money to terrorist organizations.  The June 2010 Supreme Court decision in the Humanitarian Law Project case allowed this provision to stand.  Congress could easily repeal these few words from the Act on the basis that it was never the intent of Congress in 2001 to interfere with First Amendment rights.

2)  Call for more comprehensive Church Committee-type hearings in light of the various failures and abusive actions that have been uncovered by Department of Justice IG Glenn Fine since greater legal authorities were given to the FBI after 9/11.  Examples include:

  • the reckless serving of hundreds of thousands of “national security letters” that contained errors,
  • the unlawful post-9/11 detentions of immigrants as terrorist suspects – none of whom were proved to have terrorism connections,
  • the high percentage of compliance failure in opening and handling of confidential sources,
  • improper targeting of various advocacy groups from 2002 through 2006, and
  • the most recent discovery of FBI agents cheating on internal tests regarding their own standards for targeting domestic groups.

Your role on the Senate Judiciary Committee gives you great opportunity and responsibility to protect the Constitution and American Citizens.   We will follow-up with Marian Grove and Joe Campbell to learn of your intended course of action.

Best regards,

Omid Mohseni and Roxanne Abbas

MPP Klobuchar Team