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A Review of the FBI's Investigations of Certain Domestic Advocacy Groups

Chapter Four: Investigative Activities Directed at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

A. Alex Collins

1. Facts

The FBI Special Agent who was the case agent for most of the Collins investigation had transferred to the Norfolk Field Division from the FBI's field office in Atlanta, Georgia in January 1998. As the only agent in the Norfolk Field Division assigned to work on domestic terrorism matters, he was responsible for assessing the domestic terrorism threat in the Norfolk Field Division's territory and identifying potential sources of information. The agent reviewed past complaints the FBI had received and civil rights investigations that had been conducted, spoke with officers of state and local law enforcement departments, and attended domestic terrorism conferences conducted by the FBI. He said that PETA was one of the organizations that local law enforcement and agents in other FBI field offices identified as possibly being involved in criminal activities, including funneling money to ALF.

The agent conducted additional research about PETA by focusing on the organization's leadership and locating in FBI investigative files multiple references to some individuals, including Collins, and their connection to criminal investigations. Based on the agent's research, the Norfolk Field Division initiated a full investigation of Collins on May 10, 2001. The opening Electronic Communication (EC) for the case stated that the FBI had considered ALF a terrorist organization since 1987 and that "[p]ast FBI investigations conducted to date developed evidence that members of the ALF were connected to or directed by PETA." The examples cited in the EC were the 1992 arson of a laboratory at Michigan State University111 and a 1997 raid of several fur farms in Wisconsin by ALF members.112 The EC also asserted that PETA was believed to hire interns for the sole purpose of committing criminal acts at protests.

With respect to Collins specifically, the EC stated that the Norfolk Field Division had received source information (obtained from other FBI field offices) indicating that Collins                 the North American ALF, that Collins was ALF's                                                                , and that Collins traveled to                                 each year at which attendees are taught how to maximize economic damage to businesses through protests, raids, and arson.113 The EC also asserted that Collins,                                , was providing financial support to members of ALF and other animal rights extremists to conduct "direct actions," a term the FBI generally defined as criminal activity designed to cause economic loss or to destroy property or operations. The EC did not provide any examples of this financial support. The EC also noted that multiple businesses within the Norfolk Field Division's territory had been targeted by animal rights activists with graffiti, glued doors, and anti-meat posters.

In addition, the opening EC cited examples of public statements Collins had made in the past, such as                                           SENTENCE DELETED                                      This interview, according to the EC, "gave further insight into PETA's alliance with ALF[.]" The EC noted that Collins had several misdemeanor arrests "that appear to be relative to animal rights actions."

The EC did not identify any specific federal crime that Collins had committed, was committing, or might commit in the future. Rather, the EC cited a statute that was violated by the activities attributed to ALF. This statute, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. 43, was cited in subsequent investigative documents in the Collins case file and was relied upon to support the predication for other PETA-related investigations, including the terrorism enterprise investigation of PETA as an organization opened in August 2003.114 At the time of the Collins investigation, this statute provided that, "[w]hoever travels in interstate or foreign commerce, or uses or causes to be used the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, for the purpose of causing physical disruption to the functioning of an animal enterprise; and intentionally causes physical disruption to the functioning of an animal enterprise by intentionally stealing, damaging, or causing the loss of, any property (including animals or records) used by the animal enterprise" shall be punished as provided by the statute. 18 U.S.C. 43(a). The statue defined "animal enterprise" as "a commercial or academic enterprise that uses animals for food or fiber production, agriculture, research, or testing." 18 U.S.C. 43(d)(1)(A). The definition also included zoos, aquariums, circuses, rodeos, and other businesses, events, and competitions. 18 U.S.C. 43(d)(1)(B), (C).115

Approximately 1 month after the Collins investigation was opened, the Domestic Terrorism Operations Unit at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., sent an EC to the Norfolk Field Division recommending that the case be changed from a full investigation to a preliminary inquiry.116 According to the Headquarters EC, dated June 19, 2001, the information in the Norfolk Field Division's opening EC indicating that Collins travels to                                                                 and that Collins financially supported direct actions carried out by members of ALF was 2 years old, and the source that provided the information to the FBI about Collins                                                                . The EC stated that the information contained in the opening EC did not appear to "warrant" a full investigation and that the case should be converted to a preliminary inquiry.

However, the case agent responsible for the Collins matter told us that based upon what he viewed as a long association between PETA and ALF, he did not believe that the passage of 2 years detracted from the information's relevance to the predication determination. The Norfolk Field Division therefore declined to implement FBI Headquarters suggestion to convert the matter from a full investigation to a preliminary inquiry.117

The primary focus of the Collins investigation was to uncover evidence of Collins's financial support to individuals affiliated with ALF or to other animal rights activists involved in criminal activities. At the Norfolk Field Division's request, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia agreed to open a case on Collins. Beginning in October 2002, the FBI case agent obtained financial records concerning Collins. The Norfolk Field Division also continued to solicit information from other FBI field offices about Collins and requested various FBI Le al Attache offices to seek information about Collins from                                           SENTENCE DELETED                                     

Although Collins was the named subject of the Norfolk Field Division's case, the investigative activity described above extended to PETA as an organization. As discussed below, the Norfolk Field Division opened a preliminary inquiry on PETA as a terrorism enterprise in August 2003.

The case agent told us that every source report and document that he reviewed indicated that Collins                                                                 and likely                                                                . From the agent's perspective, Collins and PETA were                                                                . Thus, according to the agent, it was reasonable to obtain financial records on the organization and request information about PETA's ossible involvement in criminal activities from                                                                . Many investigative documents in the case file that we reviewed reflected this approach.118 The financial and other information collected on Collins, PETA, and several other subjects (described below) was regularly provided to FBI Headquarters for financial and link analysis.

On January 16, 2003, the Norfolk Field Division added Jerry Robinson as a subject in the investi ation.119 The case caption also was changed to include the organizations                                                                 These organizations were PETA, the Foundation to Support Animal Protection, and the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. According to PETA's website, the Foundation to Support Animal Protection (also known as the PETA Foundation) was formed in 1993 to provide general and administrative support services - such as accounting, legal services, and database management - to PETA and other charitable protection organizations. The Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine states on its website that it is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encoura es hi her standards for ethics and effectiveness in research. Robinson                                           SENTENCE DELETED                                     

The January 16, 2003, EC documenting the change to the Collins case described the Foundation to Support Animal Protection as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization operating out of PETA's offices in Norfolk, Virginia, that has "quietly funneled over $4 million in tax-exempt donations from PETA to various 'front' groups in recent years," the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine being "the most notable example[.]" The EC stated that the Foundation to Support Animal Protection's                                                                 and described some financial arrangements among the organizations, such as the Foundation to Support Animal Protection paying the mortgage for PETA's headquarters. The EC asserted that "[t]he major purpose of [the Foundation to Support Animal Protection] appears to be to enable PETA and the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine to evade public recognition of their relationship, the real extent of their direct mail expenditures, and the real extent and nature of their assets." We determined that the passage in the EC that contains this assertion and the description of the financial arrangements among PETA, the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, and the Foundation to Support Animal Protection tracks verbatim a passage from a report published in November 2002 by a group called Animal People. Animal People's report was publicized by Americans for Medical Progress (AMP), a nonprofit organization that, according to its website, "protects society's investment in research by nurturing public understanding of and support for the humane, necessary and valuable use of animals in medicine." However, the EC did not attribute any of its contents to the Animal People report or to AMP's news service.

Regarding Robinson, the EC stated that                                           PARAGRAPH DELETED                                     120

The EC did not identify any criminal activity associated with Robinson. The agent said he believes that he added Robinson as a subject based on the financial transfers the agent saw involving PETA, the Foundation to Support Animal Protection, and the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, combined with information - later determined to be erroneous - indicating that                                                                . However, the agent told us that he could not recall any criminal activity Robinson specifically was suspected of being involved with. We also note that approximately 6 months before Robinson was added as a subject, a preliminary review conducted by FBI Headquarters of some limited financial and public source information provided by the Norfolk Field Division made the observation that "while . . . there is connectivity between PETA and [the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine], transferring money from one charity to another is a common practice tolerated by the IRS."

The FBI's analysis of the financial records obtained over the course of the Collins investigation - the primary focus of the FBI's case - did not identify any illegal activity. The most notable finding was a PETA tax record indicating that on April 20, 2001, PETA donated $1,500 to the North American Earth Liberation Front (NAELF). PETA publicly acknowledged in 2002 making the donation, which has been claimed by some organizations to be evidence of PETA's support of domestic terrorism.121 According to PETA's General Counsel, however, the donation was made to assist NAELF's press officer "with legal expenses related to free speech."

The remainder of the FBI's investigative efforts in the Collins case -essentially collecting a substantial amount of public and nonpublic information, interviewing former PETA employees, and performing some link analysis - were sporadic and, based on our review, did little to advance the investigation. The case agent told us that PETA's size made it a difficult case for a single agent to handle, especially one who had other responsibilities and investigations. The agent said he unsuccessfully requested FBI Headquarters to assign an analyst to the PETA case because he did not have regular analytical support in the Norfolk Field Division during the investigation.

On December 18, 2006, Robinson was removed as a subject from the investigation. According to the closing EC, "no nexus to terrorism has been associated with [Robinson]." Approximately 5 months later, on April 19, 2007, the Collins investigation was closed. The closing EC stated:

FBI Norfolk has been unable to determine any direct connection between [Collins] and ALF. [Collins] has stated publicly that [Collins] supports ALF and the liberation of all animals; however, at this time there is no evidence to show any criminal activity conducted by [Collins] on behalf of ALF. A financial analysis was conducted on [Coffins] to determine if [Collins] had funded ALF or any extremist animal rights organizations. The analysis provided negative results.

The agent who opened the Collins case told us that he was on a temporary duty assignment when the case was closed but did not disagree with the decision. He said that he thinks the case remained open for as long as it did - 6 years - because the office sporadically received information relating to PETA - though "it never amounted to anything that was significant" - and that it was easier to leave it open than to reopen it when information was received. The agent also said a point came when his involvement in the case essentially ended and he asked a new agent to the office to review the case with some "fresh eyes." The case was closed following that review. The Norfolk Field Division did not refer any part of the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office for prosecution.

As discussed in Chapter Two of this report, a significant consequence of the FBI's investigation classifications is that individuals identified as subjects in full investigations and preliminary inquiries in domestic terrorism matters can be placed on watchlists, such as the Violent Gang and Terrorist Offender File (VGTOF), a database that provides identifying information about such individuals to law enforcement personnel with whom they come in contact (through a traffic stop, for example). From January 2002 to June 2002, FBI policy required field offices to enter the subjects of domestic terrorism investigations and preliminary inquiries into VGTOF. Collins and Robinson were each added to VGTOF on February 1, 2002. As a result, the Norfolk Field Division received several alerts from the U.S. Customs Service relating to Collins's and Robinson's foreign travel. According to the records we reviewed in the investigative file, in most instances the FBI collected only itinerary information related to the travel, and did not request that Collins or Robinson be searched, inspected, or questioned. However, accordin to a                                                                 he was questioned and delayed at airports by customs officers on 12 occasions from January 2003 to September 2005 during international travel.122

In at least one instance, Collins and Robinson traveling together were subjected to a thorough secondary inspection as a result of the alert. On                 2003, an inspector with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) assigned to                                 Airport contacted the FBI's field office in                                , to alert the FBI that Collins and Robinson were arriving on a flight and to request guidance about what, if any, inspection the FBI wanted ICE to perform. The FBI agent who received the call was unable to speak with the Norfolk Field Division case agent and therefore requested that ICE conduct a thorough secondary inspection that included copying Collins's and Robinson's personal documents and interviewing each for information about their overseas travel. According to ICE, the secondary inspection took approximately 30 minutes and the results were forwarded to the FBI.

On August 22, 2005, the Norfolk Field Division submitted paperwork to FBI Headquarters to modify Collins's and Robinson's VGTOF status. The Norfolk Field Division requested that Collins and Robinson be removed from the database that was causing them to be subjected to additional customs inspection during international flights. This modification did not remove Collins and Robinson from VGTOF. That step, according to the case file, was taken upon closure of the case, on December 19, 2006, with respect to Robinson, and on April 19, 2007, with respect to Collins.123 However, the modification did not end the travel alerts the FBI received relating the Collins's and Robinson's international travel because each apparently remained in at least two government databases that can cause travelers to be screened - the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment and the Treasury Enforcement Communications System.124 According to documents we reviewed, the FBI received travel information relating to five international trips that occurred after August 2005 - one in late 2005 and two in 2006 taken by Robinson, one in 2006 taken by Collins, and one in 2006 taken by Robinson and Collins traveling together. The FBI's investigations of Robinson and Collins were still open when the FBI received this travel information.

2. Collection and Retention of Information about First Amendment Activities

The Norfolk Field Division opened three confidential human sources in connection with and during the Collins and PETA investigations. The first of these sources was opened specifically to collect information about persons affiliated with PETA and was "instructed to only attempt to identify members of [ALF] and or [ELF] or those providing funds to the ALF/ELF to commit criminal acts in furtherance of their social or political objectives." According to FBI documents, the source was expressly told "not to pursue gathering intelligence on anyone who is simply expressing their first amendment freedoms."

While working with the FBI, this source maintained regular contact with employees and members of PETA and attended conferences and protests where PETA activists were present,                                           SENTENCE DELETED                                     . The source also provided some assistance to other FBI field offices in their investigations of animal rights extremists.

The second source opened by the Norfolk Field Division assisted investigations related to                                                                 being conducted by other FBI field offices and did not collect information for the Norfolk Field Division related to Collins or PETA.

The third source was                                                                . The Norfolk Field Division tasked this source with providing information relating to the structure of PETA and current and former PETA employees, and about animal rights extremists with whom the source had contact. This source also assisted a national terrorism enterprise investigation of "animal rights extremism/eco-terrorism" being conducted by FBI Headquarters by, for example, attending a national animal rights conference to attempt to network with individuals possibly involved in criminal activities.

Based upon our review of documents in the Norfolk Field Division's investigative files and source files, the FBI did not appear to record information through any of these sources about individuals solely based on the exercise of First Amendment activities. Rather, the reporting from these sources generally concerned individuals who themselves were subjects or who had some connection to subjects of other FBI investigations, or individuals the FBI might have an investigative interest in.

3. OIG Analysis

We concluded that the FBI did not violate the Attorney General's Guidelines when it opened an investigation on Collins concerning her connections to animal rights activists that engaged in criminal acts. However, we also believe, as did FBI Headquarters, that the matter should have been opened as a preliminary inquiry rather than a full investigation. The Attorney General's Guidelines on General Crimes, Racketeering Enterprise and Domestic Security/Terrorism Investigations in effect at the time of the investigation (the 1989 Guidelines) stated that a preliminary "inquiry" may be opened in response to an allegation or information indicating the "possibility" of criminal activity. A preliminary inquiry "allows the government to respond in a measured way to ambiguous or incomplete information and to do so with as little intrusion as the needs of the situation permit." The information in such a circumstance does not need to rise to the level of a "reasonable indication" of criminal activity - the standard for a full investigation - but its "responsible handling requires some further scrutiny beyond the prompt and extremely limited checking out of initial leads."

At the time the Collins investigation was opened, the case agent had dated information that Collins had                                                                 and funded some of the "direct actions" of ALF. ALF was an entity designated a domestic terrorist group by the FBI and responsible for millions of dollars in property damage to various "animal enterprises." It was also alleged that Collins traveled to                                                                 that instructed animal rights activists about maximizing economic damage to businesses with techniques that included raids and arson.125

However, as FBI Headquarters noted in its EC to the Norfolk Field Division, the information was 2 years old. In addition, the reliability of the source for the information was not indicated and the allegations were conclusory and lacking in detail. In short, like FBI Headquarters, we do not believe a full investigation was warranted under these circumstances.

The Norfolk field Division's decision to open the matter as a full investigation rather than a preliminary investigation had consequences for the length of this investigation. The 1989 Guidelines required that preliminary inquiries be completed within 90 days after initiation, and provided for 30-day extensions with approval from FBI Headquarters. The 2002 Guidelines required that preliminary inquires be completed within 180 days after initiation, and provided for 2 90-day extensions based on Special Agent in Charge approval and subsequent extensions with FBI Headquarters approval only. By contrast, full investigations could remain open indefinitely. As explained below, we believe the case would not have remained open for as long as it was - 6 years - had it been initiated as a preliminary inquiry and therefore been subject to review and reauthorization at fixed intervals.

We also believe that there was sufficient support for opening an investigation on Jerry Robinson in January 2003, but we again believe a full investigation was not warranted. According to the case a ent, the rounds for addin Robinson as a sub'ect included information that                                                                 - Foundation to Support Animal Protection and Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine - with financial ties to PETA, an organization the FBI suspected of directing and funding unlawful activities of animal rights extremists; and                                           SENTENCE DELETED                                     . We believe that such information was tenuous and did not provide much support for the belief that Robinson was involved in any activity that violated federal law.

We also concluded that the January 16, 2003, EC that added Robinson as a subject to the Collins case failed to comply with FBI policy requiring that "if an individual, group, or activity has been characterized in a certain manner by the originators of information collected in the course of an investigation, FBI records . . . should reflect that the characterization was made by another party, not the FBI." MIOG Introduction, 1-4(5). As noted above, we determined that a passage in the EC that described and characterized the financial arrangements among PETA, the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, and the Foundation to Support Animal Protection tracked verbatim a passage from a report published in November 2002 by a group called Animal People, which was in turn publicized by Americans for Medical Progress through its news service. The EC did not attribute any of its contents to either of these entities. We also believe, wholly apart from this particular FBI policy, that relying on - without any attribution - the analysis of a non-FBI party with a diametrically opposed viewpoint from the target of an FBI investigation is a practice that can undermine the credibility of the investigation.

We also do not believe there was sufficient factual basis at any point during the case that warranted the FBI opening a full investigation on either Collins or Robinson, and found that the investigations of Collins and Robinson should have been closed earlier than they were. Based on our review of the case file, by the end of 2003, the financial analyses that had been erformed did not identifyan ille al activity, the leads sent to                                                                 did not produce evidence of criminal acts tied to Collins or Robinson, and the effort to develop useful information from human sources was not successful. The investigation identified associations among animal rights activists and organizations, including activists and groups who had been or were believed to be involved in criminal acts, but we do not believe these linkages were sufficient to have found there was a "reasonable indication" that Collins or Robinson had violated or would violate any federal law.

As discussed in the next section, the preliminary inquiry of PETA as an organization - classified as a terrorism enterprise investigation - remained open for approximately 15 months. The authority for the preliminary investigation of PETA was not extended when it expired in November 2004. Because the case against PETA and the Collins investigation essentially were conducted by the Norfolk Field Division as a consolidated case, we saw no basis for the Collins investigation to remain open for over 2 years after the terrorism enterprise investigation of PETA was closed.126

We believe that had the Collins case been conducted as a preliminary inquiry, and therefore been subject to the requirement that such cases be renewed at defined intervals, it likely would not have continued for the 6 years that it did, a period that we found unreasonable and inconsistent with FBI policy requiring that an investigation with potential impacts on First Amendment activity "not be permitted to extend beyond the point at which its underlying justification no longer exists." MIOG Introduction, 1-4(2).

The Collins case also illustrates the impact a lengthy investigation can have on individuals who are subjects of FBI preliminary and full investigations. Because this case was classified as a domestic terrorism matter, Collins and Robinson were placed in the VGTOF database and then on a federal watchlist. As a result, the FBI collected information about Collins's and Robinson's travel activities for several years. At least one time that they returned to the country, they were both subjected to a secondary inspection that included copying their personal documents. The FBI's Norfolk Field Division submitted paperwork in August 2005 to have Collins and Robinson removed from the international travel watchlist, but this did not occur and the FBI continued to receive information relating to their travel through 2006.

The FBI finally removed Collins and Robinson from VGTOF when the investigation as to each was closed - on December 19, 2006, with respect to Robinson, and on April 19, 2007, with respect to Collins. We concluded that the investigations remained open "beyond the point at which [the] underlying justification no longer exists." Consequently, Collins and Robinson remained in the VGTOF database substantially longer than they should have.

111 During the investigation of the 1992 arson, a search warrant was served on the private residence of a PETA employee. The search recovered a briefcase belonging to then-PETA                                            . The briefcase contained, among other items, false identification                                            , a credit card issued under one of aliases, surveillance logs, lock-picking devices, code words for a university research facility, and                                             advising of a possible raid on a fox farm on Pennsylvania. The search of the residence also recovered approximately $2,000 contained in an envelope                                            . The search also found various pieces of equipment, including night-vision goggles, two-way radios, ski masks, and rubber gloves.

112 The investigation of the raid determined that the two individuals who conducted the raid called PETA's anti-fur coordinator prior to the raid occurring. In addition, the two participants, after being indicted, contacted another individual at the telephone number subscribed to by the PETA anti-fur coordinator and obtained prepaid transportation from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C. This same contact provided one of the participants a prepaid airline ticket from Newark, New Jersey, to London, England, and contact information for a safe house.

113 This information is described in more detail in a memorandum discussed in Section II.B. below, which was prepared by the Norfolk Field Division in support of its opening a preliminary terrorism enterprise investigation of PETA as an organization.

114 For example, on June 15, 2001, the Norfolk Field Division requested that FBI Headquarters send leads to various FBI Legal Attache offices for any information                                             might have about Collins and PETA. In the EC to FBI Headquarters making the request, the Norfolk Field Division asserted its belief that Collins, PETA, and the organization's members were engaged in a criminal conspiracy "to commit crimes across state lines, thereby affecting commerce, lawful businesses, public policy, and government approved financial programs by use of force, extortion, coercion, threats, violence, and arson that have resulted in the destruction of personal and real property, personal injury, and human death (overseas), thereby constituting Federal crimes by violating the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, Title 18 U.S. Code, Section 43; the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S. Code, Section 195; and the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S. Code, Section 1961."

115 The Animal Enterprise Protection Act was amended in 2006 by the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, Pub. L. No. 109-374 (2006). Among other changes, the 2006 Act broadened the definition of "animal enterprise" and expanded the statute's coverage to address a tactic referred to as "tertiary targeting" in which animal rights activists target the property of a person or other entity "having a connection to, relationship with, or transactions with an animal enterprise."

116 As discussed in Chapter Two of this report, under the 1989 and 2002 investigative guidelines the FBI could initiate a full investigation "when facts and circumstances reasonably indicate that a federal crime has been, is being, or will be committed." A preliminary inquiry could be initiated "when there is information or an allegation which indicates the possibility of criminal activity and whose responsible handling requires some further scrutiny beyond checking initial leads."

117 As discussed below, the practical effect of not converting the matter to a preliminary inquiry was that the investigation did not have to be reauthorized at fixed intervals. The Attorney General's 1989 Guidelines required that preliminary inquiries be completed within 90 days after initiation, and provided for 30-day extensions with approval from FBI Headquarters. The 2002 Guidelines required that preliminary inquires be completed within 180 days after initiation, and provided for 2 90-day extensions based on Special Agent in Charge approval and subsequent extensions with FBI Headquarters approval only. By contrast, full investigations could remain open indefinitely.

118 For example, on April 11, 2002, Norfolk Field Division provided various documents to FBI Headquarters with the request that appropriate units analyze the information "to assess whether PETA is involved in money laundering, financial institution fraud or tax fraud; as well as, the financing of ALF/ELF terrorist groups in furtherance of PETA's social and political objectives."

119 Jerry Robinson is a pseudonym.

120 According to FBI records, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty is an international campaign begun in 1999 by animal rights activists to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences, Europe's largest animal research laboratory. Huntingdon Life Sciences has offices in New Jersey. The campaign targets Huntingdon Life Sciences directly, as well as affiliated companies. An FBI official testified before Congress in 2005 that Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty tactics have included "bombings, death threats, vandalism, office invasions, phone blockades, and denial-of-service attacks on [] computer systems." In March 2006, a federal .1.1 in Trenton, New Jerse convicted several members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty,                                            , for conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. 43.

121 See, e.g., David Martosko, Director of Research, Center for Consumer Freedom, before the Committee on Environment and Public Works, U.S. Senate, concerning "Environmental and Animal Rights Terrorism and Its Above-Ground Support System" (May 12, 2005).

122 Several years before                                           PARAGRAPH DELETED                                     

123 On June 14, 2007, Norfolk Field Division resubmitted the request that Collins be removed from VGTOF. It appears this was done to comply with a requirement that VGTOF forms be submitted in a new electronic format.

124 The Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment is the U.S. government's central repository of information on individuals known or suspected to be involved in international terrorism. The Treasury Enforcement Communication System serves as the principal information system supporting border management and the law enforcement mission of the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as other federal law enforcement agencies.

125 Yet, the case agent's opening EC did not identify any specific federal law that Collins possibly violated or would violate, although other documents in the case file identified several possibilities, including 18 U.S.C. 43 (Animal Enterprise Protection Act). As noted earlier, this statute prohibits individuals from traveling in interstate or foreign commerce, or using any facility (a means of transportation or communication) of interstate commerce, for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise, and in fact intentionally causing such damage.

126 The case agent who initiated the Collins case told us that he believes the investigation remained open as long as it did in order to have a new agent to the office review the evidence with "fresh eyes." The case agent also said that in hindsight it might have been easier to close the case and reopen it if something developed, although he thought the case remained open in part because the office continued to receive sporadic information about PETA. We do not believe either of these explanations warranted keeping the investigation open as long as it was. A fresh review of the case did not require that it remain open, and the case agent himself acknowledged - and our review of the case file confirmed - that the sporadic information about PETA that Norfolk Field Division received in the later stages of the investigation "never amounted to anything that was significant."

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