Documents just obtained by the PCJF from its FOIA request show massive nationwide monitoring, surveillance and information sharing between the Department of Homeland Security and local authorities in response to Occupy. The PCJF, also on behalf of author/filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee, has made a series of FOIA demands regarding law enforcement involvement in the Occupy Crackdown.
“These documents show not only intense government monitoring and coordination in response to the Occupy Movement, but reveal a glimpse into the interior of a vast, tentacled, national intelligence and domestic spying network that the U.S. government operates against its own people,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF. “These heavily redacted documents don’t tell the full story. They are likely only a subset of responsive materials and the PCJF continues to fight for a complete release. They scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network including Fusion Centers, saturated with ‘anti-terrorism’ funding, that mobilizes thousands of local and federal officers and agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement,” Verheyden-Hilliard stated.
This set of released materials reveals intense involvement by the DHS’ National Operations Center (NOC) in these activities. The DHS describes the NOC as, “the primary national-level hub for domestic situational awareness, common operational picture, information fusion, information sharing, communications, and coordination pertaining to the prevention of terrorist attacks and domestic incident management. The NOC is the primary conduit for the White House Situation Room and DHS Leadership for domestic situational awareness and facilitates information sharing and operational coordination with other federal, state, local, tribal, non-governmental operation centers and the private sector.”
A sampling of documents reveals:
- NOC Fusion Desk on November 5, 2011, collected the identity and contact information of a group of Dallas Occupy protesters who were arrested demonstrating against the Bank of America.
- A DHS “Significant Incident Report” reflected step-by-step reporting on a ceremonial meeting on the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, New York by a small group of OWS members from the U.S. and Canada. According to the monitoring report, the people at the meeting included Occupy Toronto, Occupy Niagara, Occupy Buffalo and Occupy Philadelphia. Multiple law enforcement agencies met in advance on December 29 and “stood ready to assist” during the January 1, 2012 meeting.
- DHS coordinated with Portland, OR regarding the eviction of the Occupy encampment and discussed obtaining “‘soundly based’ evidence of public health and safety concerns” to evict from Schrunk Plaza.
- On November 9, 2011 — two days after a dramatic street protest by 1,500 seniors and Occupy Chicago against social service cuts — the NOC Fusion desk sent out a request from the Chicago police department seeking information from “state Fusion Centers” and requesting coordination and information-sharing about Occupy encampments and arrest charges in New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. Denver, Boston, Portland OR, and Seattle. This request was subsequently recalled by officials in DHS, who directed that it should instead proceed through “law enforcement channels.” Boston Police Intelligence/Homeland Security reported that they were following up in direct communication with Chicago. In an apparent effort to facilitate the coordination but to take it off the books of the DHS, the Duty Director of the NOC wrote that he would reach out to “LEO LNOs (liason officer) on the floor” to assist. As we described in a previous report, LEO is FBI’s nationally integrated law enforcement, intelligence and military network.
- The NOC went into high gear requesting urgent communications for Obama’s DHS Secretary in advance of the planned December 12th port protests nationwide by OWS. The communications from a senior officer of the NOC ask field offices from Houston, Portland, Oakland, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles to provide information about “what actions they will be taking to prepare” for the protests by the “Occupy Movement.”
- DHS went so far as to keep the Pentagon’s Northcom (Northern Command) in the intelligence loop in advance of the November 2nd port protests organized by Occupy Oakland and supported by ILWU workers. In a “Significant Incident Report” DHS officials were “advised that this [port] closure is a combination of Longshoremen dissatisfaction of working conditions…and to show support for the Occupy Oakland Protest.”
- DHS monitored and reported on Occupy protests from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. to El Paso to Detroit, among many other cities around the country.
- The DHS was in direct communication with the White House for approval of public statements denying DHS’s involvement in Occupy actions.
- DHS’s Office for State and Local Law Enforcement, which collaborates with “non-federal law enforcement and private associations” issued its “Weekly Informant” for December 5th including an update from the Police Executive Research Forum about Occupy. The PERF is the group that organized a series of multi-city law enforcement calls to coordinate the response to Occupy.