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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

F. Bruce Turner

1. Facts

The Norfolk Field Division initiated a preliminary investigation of Bruce Turner on August 31, 2005.139 According to the EC opening the case, an FBI source advised that Turner was a "hardcore" animal rights activist employed in PETA's                                            . The source told the FBI that because Turner's                                             the source believed Turner supported ALF activities. The source also told the FBI that Turner was in                                             at the time                                           SENTENCE DELETED                                     .

The Norfolk Field Division conducted records checks that indicated Turner had                                             in Norfolk and that he was arrested in                    in                                             for burglary and disorderly conduct.140 Turner's name was also referenced in FBI investigative files, including information indicating Turner's participation                                             at World Vegan Day and his involvement with an organization supporting an animal rights activist who had been convicted in 2000 on a misdemeanor obstruction charge in connection with an animal rights demonstration.

The Norfolk Field Division initiated a preliminary investigation based on this information "to determine [Turner's] involvement in criminal activity and any affiliation with domestic terrorist groups such as ALF." Early investigative efforts included verifying Turner's residence and receivin additional information from the FBI source about Turner, such as                                             and his activities as a PETA employee and animal rights activist. The Norfolk Field Division's query of                                           SENTENCE DELETED                                      had been in contact with other numbers subscribed to by individuals who, according to FBI investigative files, were prominent animal rights activists. Two of these individuals were the subjects of domestic terrorism investigations in other FBI field offices.

On November 22, 2005, the Norfolk Field Division sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, requesting that the office open a case on Turner and assign an Assistant United States Attorney to the matter. The letter described the information the investigation had gathered about Turner's criminal record and affiliation with known animal rights extremists. On November 27, 2005, the U.S. Attorney's Office orally advised the Norfolk Field Division that it would not open a file on Turner at that time because the information provided in the November 22, 2005, letter did not meet the office's threshold for opening a criminal case. The U.S. Attorney's Office advised that additional evidence linking Turner to domestic terrorism organizations was needed before a case could be opened.

The Norfolk Field Division's preliminary investigation continued for several months. Investigative activity included additional records checks, a review of public source information about Turner, and a request to a unit at FBI Headquarters to analyze two e-mail addresses used by Turner to identify possible links to other FBI domestic terrorism subjects. The Special Agent in Charge of the Norfolk Field Division authorized a 90-day extension of the preliminary investigation, effective February 26, 2006. According to the EC requesting the extension, the FBI source that had been providing second-hand information about Turner was having little success meeting with him directly, but was continuing to try.

On May 16, 2006, near the conclusion of the 90-day extension, the Norfolk Field Division sent an EC to FBI Headquarters advising that the Turner investigation was being closed. The EC summarized the investigation that had been conducted and gave as the reason for closure the belief that Turner had left the Norfolk Field Division's jurisdiction. According to the EC, because Turner traveled extensively as part of his employment with PETA and did not have a new permanent residence, there was no specific FBI field office to notify. The case file does not contain any indication that Turner was entered into or removed from VGTOF.141

2. OIG Analysis

We concluded that the FBI preliminary inquiry on Turner did not violate the Attorney General's Guidelines. Turner was identified by a source as a "hardcore" animal rights activist and in a manner referring to the Animal Liberation Front. Additional information indicated that Turner had traveled to two states to participate in protests, one that resulted in his arrest and another that possibly could have resulted in property damage to an animal enterprise.

We also concluded that there was a factual basis for the Norfolk Field Division to authorize a 90-day extension for the preliminary inquiry. When the investigation did not obtain any further evidence of criminal activity, the FBI closed the investigation.


139 Bruce Turner is a pseudonym.

140 The arrest report indicated that Turner was arrested in connection with his protest                                            . Turner led "no contest" to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to                                            

141 At the time the Turner case was opened, FBI field offices were not required to enter subjects of domestic terrorism preliminary inquiries into VGTOF.



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