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"I don't believe the First Amendment is any guarantee to those who wish to disrupt the government," he said. Hutchins said he did not notify Ehrlich about the surveillance. Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell said the governor had no comment.
The police also entered the activists' names into the federal Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area database, which tracks suspected terrorists. One well-known antiwar activist from Baltimore, Max Obuszewski, was singled out in the intelligence logs released by the ACLU, which described a "primary crime" of "terrorism-anti-government" and a "secondary crime" of "terrorism-anti-war protesters."
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Though the Sachs report offers the first independent account of a 14-month surveillance operation that has sparked outrage among Maryland activists across the political spectrum, it does not answer key questions, including when the state police began monitoring political groups, and who ordered the undercover tactics.
"I don't think we know the answer to that," Sachs said in an interview yesterday. "The search for culprits, frankly, may be futile," he said, because the problem was "systemic."
The report included a number of recommendations to ensure that safeguards are in place to protect the individual liberties of citizens. All of these recommendations have been accepted by the Maryland State Police, including:
* The Maryland State Police will formulate binding regulations that govern covert surveillance of "advocacy" or "protest" groups.
There was, of course, no basis for suggesting that the subjects of the investigation at issue here had any involvement in terrorism. For conduct to qualify as “domestic terrorism” under the definition in federal criminal law, for example, there must be, within the territory of the United States, (a) “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State” and (b) an intent to “intimidate or coerce” a civilian population or a government or an intent to “affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.” 18 U.S.C. § 2331(5). Here, there was no criminal conduct at all, and no planning for criminal conduct.
The subjects of MSP’s investigation are, in a particularly meaningful respect, the opposite of terrorists: they are individuals committed to changing the policies or conduct of the government through strictly non-violent means.