FOIA request reveals US Army spying on activists

Eileen Clancy

Eileen Clancy

US government documents released through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by activists in Washington state have helped unmask a US Army informant operating amidst their ranks. John Towery, a member of the US Army’s Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis in Washington, claimed to be an anarchist named “John Jacob” in order to join Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance. He then spied on the groups on behalf of several regional and federal government agencies, including Immigration Customs Enforcement, Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the US Army. This is the latest in a long line of similar incidents, which inevitably point to a systematic campaign of domestic intelligence gathering against antiwar groups. Some say that spying on domestic targets by the US military breaches the Posse Comitatus law, which specifically bars the US armed forces from engaging in law enforcement operations inside the US. Eileen Clancy, of I-Witness Video, described the incident as “one of the most important revelations of spying on the American people that we’ve seen since the beginning of the Bush era”.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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