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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

C. Patrick Lewis

1. Facts

The Norfolk Field Division also initiated a full investigation of Patrick Lewis,                                , on June 28, 2002.134 The opening EC began, "Past FBI investigations have developed evidence that PETA had directed or is connected to members of [ALF]," and again cited the case of the 1992 arson of a Michigan State University laboratory. The EC identified Lewis as                                                                 in the organization. The EC cited multiple arrests of Lewis, including a                                                                .135 The EC also cited statements Lewis made at the 2001 Animal Rights National Conference in McLean, Virginia. Accordin to the EC, Lewis                                           PARAGRAPH DELETED                                     

The EC concluded, "Many of the acts of violence by animal rights groups are the direct result of a criminal conspiracy by Collins, Lewis, and their followers, to commit crimes against state lines, thereby affecting commerce, lawful businesses, public policy, and Government approved financial programs by use of force, extortion, coercion, threats, violence, and arson. These acts of violence have resulted in destruction of personal and real property, personal injury, and death (overseas), thereby constituting Federal crimes by violating the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, Title 18 United States Code (USC), Section 43; the Hobbs Act, Title 18, USC, Section 195; and the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Title 18, USC, Section 1961."

Early steps in the FBI's full investigation of Lewis included                                           SENTENCE DELETED                                     . FBI agents learned that Lewis's and PETA's telephone numbers                                           SENTENCE DELETED                                     . They also determined that in                                          SENTENCE DELETED                                     .

According to the investigative file, there were indications that Lewis was involved in funding other animal rights activists implicated in criminal activities. For example, Lewis's name appeared on a list of "funding sources" discovered during a search of the residence of a former ALF spokesperson.

The investigative file also noted additional statements made by Lewis. For example,                                           PARAGRAPH DELETED                                     

On October 6, 2003, the Norfolk Field Division changed the status of the Lewis investigation from "pending" to "pending inactive" because "other investigative initiatives" involving Lewis - the preliminary inquiry on PETA as a terrorism enterprise - had been initiated. Nearly 2 years later, on June 29, 2005, the Norfolk Field Division closed the Lewis investigation because "no current evidence indicates that [Lewis] is presently involved in any terrorist activity[.]"

We determined that Lewis was entered into the VGTOF watchlist on February 1, 2002, several months before he was officially identified as a subject of an investigation. Our review of case files identified several instances of the FBI collecting information about Lewis's activities as a result of his bein entered into VGTOF. For example, in                                           SENTENCE DELETED                                      a company targeted by PETA for alleged cruelty to animals. The FBI also received information about a 2004 international flight and 2005 domestic flight Lewis took.

On March 15, 2005, the Norfolk Field Division submitted paperwork to FBI Headquarters to request his removal from the database that could cause him to be subjected to additional inspection during air travel. This action did not remove Lewis from VGTOF. The FBI told the OIG that Lewis in fact was removed from the VGTOF watchlist, although it could not locate the paperwork or identify when this occurred.

2. OIG Analysis

We concluded that the FBI did not violate the Attorney General's Guidelines when it opened an investigation on Lewis in June 2002. We believe it is a close question whether there was a sufficient basis to open a full investigation rather than apreliminary inquiry. The opening EC identified Lewis                                                                 in PETA who demonstrated a willingness to engage in unlawful destruction of property and who had recently made rovocative statements in support of violent action                                                                 directed at various animal enterprises                                                                . However, Lewis's only conviction occurred in                , nearly a decade before the Norfolk Field Division case was opened. We question whether the information available at the time the case was opened provided a "reasonable indication" of a violation of federal law that would support initiating a full investigation.

While investigative steps used by the FBI were permissible under the applicable guidelines both for preliminary inquiries and full investigations, opening a full investigation rather than a preliminary inquiry affected the duration of the case. Moreover, the FBI's decision to place the case on "pending inactive" status in October 2003 had the effect of unnecessarily extending the matter nearly 2 years.


134 Patrick Lewis is a pseudonym.

135 Accordin to the EC, Lewis and other activists                                           PARAGRAPH DELETED                                     



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