Wiretapping, the Close-to-Home Version

There was an interesting item in the local news earlier this week, when the Minneapolis Star-Tribune got hold of the St. Paul PD’s guidelines on infiltrating activist groups. Though the document doesn’t specifically mention the upcoming RNC convention, it seems pretty clear what it’s all about. Some very interesting comments showed up in an wire story on the subject, which quotes former Minneapolis PD chief Tony Bouza. He describes the guidelines as “eloquent”, but then drops an interesting little tidbit:

“Bouza also expressed doubts that St. Paul police will infiltrate groups. He wishes they would; he said it is needed to learn about potential violence to prevent it during the convention. He said that surveillance of groups coming to the 2008 convention probably is limited to telephone wiretaps by the National Security Agency, with the information turned over to the FBI.”

While the NSA involvement seems like it would raise more than a few eyebrows, I basically agree the SPPD are unlikely to infiltrate any protest groups; it isn’t as if they have the manpower to spare. Besides, thanks to the Green Scare, most of the local activists (such as they are; Minneapolis is where all the anarchists seem to live, oddly enough) seem to be totally wrapped up in “security culture”, which probably generates more paranoia than actual “security”. Minneapolis, on the other hand, I would not be surprised to discover has a few covert operatives – or at least activists they’ve “turned”; the city, after all, has had trouble with radical activists since at least 1999, and there have been periods in the MPD’s checkered history where targeting predominantly-white activists for “special attention” could have been seen as some sort of perverse affirmative-action policy…

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on February 27th, 2008| Comments Off on Wiretapping, the Close-to-Home Version

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