FBI Pays Advance Visit to Protesters

The FBI is warming up to its new role as a preventive law enforcement agency. It has begun knocking on the doors of those they expect to be protesting at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and asking questions and giving warnings to the occupants inside. Where? Denver is one place. From today's Rocky Mountain News:

Law enforcement officers visited several Denver young people Thursday to warn them against committing violence at the Democratic and Republican national conventions. "This is part of an ongoing FBI investigation with the Joint Terrorism Task Force," Colorado FBI spokeswoman Monique Kelson said Friday. "That's all that we can comment right now."

Some of those receiving the unwelcome visits called the ACLU:

Mark Silverstein, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado, said young people living at two locations in Denver reported the visits to the ACLU and that similar visits have occurred elsewhere in the United States in recent days. He said officers told the Denver young people that they were visiting "protesters and anarchists."

"It's an abuse of power, designed to intimidate these kids from exercising their constitutional right to protest government policies and associate with others who want to protest government policies," Silverstein said.

Sarah Bardwell, one of those visited, said the six officers and agents who knocked on her door asked these questions:

Are you planning to be involved in any criminal acts at the national conventions? Do you know anybody who is? Are you aware that if you assist or know anybody planning any criminal acts and do not report them, it's a crime?
"We declined to answer," Bardwell said.

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