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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

FBI was watching 'Occupy' movement even before it started

FBI counter-terrorism agents were investigating Occupy Wall Street before protesters even erected the first tent in Zuccotti Park last year, new documents show.

The FBI met with New York Stock Exchange officials to tip them off about the coming protest as early as Aug. 19, 2011, about a month before the “occupation” began, according to internal bureau documents, which were obtained and released by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund.

The records show an agent notified officials at Federal Hall and the Museum of American Finance that each of their buildings were “a point of interest” for the protest.

The documents are heavily redacted, but show the agency improperly gathered information on Americans involved in legal activities, the head of the civil-rights organization in Washington said.

“(It’s) a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the partnership’s executive director.

The investigation included cities across the country, all of which followed the New York protest.

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