It doesn’t take violence, or even the threat of violence, to get on a government watch list. This fall, the Inspector General of the US Department of Justice released a study that found a number of activists groups had been wrongly subject to ongoing investigations of terror. According to the IG, Greenpeace, PETA, The Thomas Merton Center (in Pittsburgh) and the Catholic Workers, had been wiretapped, and their activists inappropriately placed on terrorist watch lists (for years).
The investigations, commenced early in the War on Terror, produced no criminal prosecutions and, according to the report, resulted in inaccurate and misleading information presented to the FBI Director; further, they continued well after it was clear that they were leading nowhere good. Obviously, they did nothing to enhance American security against a threat from Al Qaeda. (All of these investigations started in the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center.) The report didn’t focus on the wasted resources, human and otherwise.
It’s not as if anti-government paranoids needed more evidence for their wildest fantasies.