Wisconsin pro-life groups illegally investigated by the government and by police


Last year, there was a firestorm over Janet Napolitano’s right wing terrorist list. This list included war veterans and pro-lifers. Once the list was leaked, conservatives were understandably outraged, and the Obama administration tried to cover it up immediately.

However, it looks like there might have been some truth to that list. A pro-life group in Wisconsin was recently investigated by police and the government for literally no reason at all.

The Department of Homeland Security admitted today that it improperly conducted a threat assessment on pro-life and pro-abortion groups in Wisconsin. The assessment came before an expected rally last year in response to the University of Wisconsin Hospital board decided to allow abortions.

In February 2009, pro-life advocates planned to protest the hospital’s decision to open up a new Madison Surgery Center doing abortions.

The Associated Press reported today that the department said in a memo that it “destroyed all of the copies of the assessment after an internal review found it violated intelligence gathering guidelines about ‘protest groups which posed no threat to homeland security.'”

AP indicated the assessment was reportedly only shared with the director of Wisconsin’s intelligence-sharing center and local police in Middleton, Wisconsin, the site of the rally.

Today, a pro-life organization in Wisconsin informed LifeNews.com of its concerns.

In response to an open records request by the Alliance Defense Fund and Pro-Life Wisconsin, the Middleton Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, along with the Department of Homeland Security all refused on February 4 to release copies of the threat assessment.

Pro-Life Wisconsin officials told LifeNews.com that the assessment was “inappropriately shared” and should never have targeted pro-life groups.

“The majority of Americans identify themselves as pro-life, and the Middleton Police Department has shown they are out of touch with this peaceful majority,” said Peggy Hamill, state director of the pro-life group. “Pro-lifers are not a minority of the population, nor are they second-class citizens. We refuse to let our First Amendment rights be silenced.”

A few months later in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights concluded the investigation was an improper use of department resources.

The conclusion said the department inappropriately directed against activities protected by the First Amendment, in which law enforcement inappropriately engaged in “the collection, retention and dissemination of U.S. person information regarding protest groups which posed no threat to homeland security and… violated [DHS] Guidelines.”

Hamill said DHS destroyed its copies of the report, but the Middleton Police Department retained its copy.

In January 2010 the Alliance Defense Fund, on behalf of Wisconsin pro-life advocates, asked the Middleton Police Department for a copy of the report pursuant to Wisconsin’s open records laws.

The Middleton Police Department refused to disclose the report and further said that the DOJ similarly refused to authorize disclosure of the report, despite the fact that DHS had already determined that the report was an improper investigation of freedom of speech activities.

“This move by DHS illustrates the Obama administration’s goal of silencing pro-lifers. It is disturbing that a local police department has apparently tapped into the security apparatus of the federal government to potentially obstruct free speech,” Hamill concluded.

“Last year, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano unjustly included pro-lifers in a report on domestic terrorism, and here we see her words in action,” she said.

I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing the ACLU standing up to fight this one, will we?

I’m curious. Why exactly would the government feel the need to investigate a rally? Just because it’s pro-life? I know, I know — DHS “apologized”. All that really means is that they’re sorry someone complained and the news got out about it. If no one ever acknowledged that this was wrong and illegal, do you honestly think there ever would have been an apology issued? Even more disturbing is that the local police department won’t release their copy of this report to let us know just why, exactly, this pro-life group was deemed a threat. Was it simply because they were pro-life? It sure does look that way.

All throughout Bush’s presidency, liberals protested him on a seemingly daily basis. They burned him in effigy, they fantasized about assassination, and they said over and over again that dissent was the strongest form of patriotism. Protesting, they said, is an important civil right. But now the tables have turned and we have a liberal extremist, pro-abortion president in office. Dissent is no longer tolerated, and protesting? If you’re on the wrong side of the issue, that’s not allowed, either.

Unfortunately for Obama, I don’t think this will stop pro-lifers, though. They’re some of the most incredible people around. Regardless of how much they get smeared and slandered, regardless of the potential cost, they keep on fighting for the sanctity of human life. They don’t do it for profit or gain, and they do it even if it means the government will try to silence them. Obama’s DHS tried to pick a fight, and they really should have known better. When you actually have morals and are willing to fight for what you believe in, a little bullying won’t be enough to scare you away.

Cross-posted from Cassy’s blog. Stop by for more original commentary or follow her on Twitter!

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