This story and decision made me uncomfortable. It reminded me of the ’60s, when − it was reputed − the FBI had infiltrated virtually every protest and left-wing political group.
Indeed, it was a dark joke among left-wingers that there were more FBI agents in those groups than there were actual group members.
In any case, I did read this article from the Times − Suit by Protest Groups on Spying Is Dismissed – NYTimes.com. − and developed a dim notion that the decision rested on a legal wrinkle involving the alliance of the infiltrator. I.e., maybe if he worked directly for a governmental agency this lawsuit would not have been dismissed.
I don’t entirely understand this, so I’m just reporting it. Here’s the beginning and essence of the story:
A federal judge in Washington State has dismissed a lawsuit that accused a civilian intelligence analyst working for the military of breaking the law by using a fake name to infiltrate antiwar groups and trying to thwart protests by sharing information he collected with the Army, law enforcement agencies and private security firms.
Plaintiffs in the case, which was filed in 2010, contended that the actions of the analyst, John J. Towery, had deterred their free speech and led to their arrests, violating First and Fourth Amendment rights as well as statutes forbidding military surveillance of civilian groups.