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Nonprofit Wants to Know if CIA Is Responsible for Evicting Occupy Camps

Reprinted from SF Weekly

That’s been the rumor circulated among groups of Occupiers who were rousted from their encampments over the last month —  from New York to San Francisco — as they protested Wall Street and its big banks.  

The Partnership for Civil Justice, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit legal group, says it is getting stonewalled by the CIA, which has bluntly refused to process its Freedom of Information Act request. The request seeks to learn what role — if any — the agency played in rooting out Occupy camps city-by-city.

According to the PCJ:

The CIA is not specifically denying that it has records and documents that would reveal its role in the coordinated crackdown that evicted the encampments in major cities within a short period of time. Rather, the agency asserts that it won’t look for such records and documents.

  The CIA recently responded to the group’s request, noting that because the agency deals with foreign intelligence issues, not domestic, it would essentially be illegal for the CIA to have coordinated efforts to evict Occupiers.

Furthermore, CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator Susan Viscuso wrote in a letter to the group that the agency’s “records systems are not configured in a way that would allow us to perform a search reasonably calculated to lead to responsive records. Therefore, we must decline to process your request.”

“The CIA is apparently asserting that because its involvement in law enforcement’s crackdown of the Occupy movement would be barred by law, it is not possible for the CIA to conduct an effective search for information responsive to our inquiry into its role in the operation,” Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJ, said in a release. “In other words, because the actions would be illegal, they would also be off the books.”

The PCJ is now demanding that the CIA reconsider its request, noting that it is prepared to take legal action to force the agency to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act.

This denial comes on the heels of a series of Associated Press articles revealing the CIA’s involvement with the NYPD.