Lawyers Say FBI Raid Raises Civil Liberty Issues

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Protest Sign outside FBI Offices In Minneapolis

Lawyers at Monday’s Minneapolis rally in solidarity with the six citizens targeted by FBI raids on Sept. 24 discussed some of the frightening new personal liberty issues that these dramatic events have raised. In particular, a July ruling by the Supreme Court threatens First Amendment rights in various ways. The current law — and the FBI’s interpretation of it — suggest that interacting with groups that may be on the government’s list of terrorist organizations could put one at risk. The previous standard concerned providing aid. Now, talking may be a crime. The Washington Post touched on these threats to civil liberties in its series entitled “Top Secret America”. Local attorney Coleen Rowley, who spoke at the FBI protest on Monday, has authored several pieces on this issue.

On a related note, the FBI emptied its Minneapolis offices prior to the rally. Twenty Minneapolis Police officers observed the peaceful protest from across the street, including Chief Tim Dolan. In addition, the Ramsey County Sheriff provided surveillance — despite the fact that Minneapolis is in Hennepin County, not Ramsey County … i.e. they were out of their jurisdiction.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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