Pennsylvania Homeland Security Puts Anti-tax Protesters On List of Terror Threats
September 15, 2010
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Pennsylvania’s Democrat governor Ed Renell is “deeply embarrassed” by the disclosure that state Homeland Security officials have designated anti-tax protesters and other folks exercising their First Amendment right to petition the government as a threat to the state’s infrastructure.
“I am appalled by the information that was disseminated,” Rendell said. “Let me make this as clear as I can make it: Protesting is not a threat against infrastructure. Protesting is a God-given American right.”
Pennsylvania paid a Philadelphia-based nonprofit $125,000 to compile the list as part of the state Homeland Security’s federally mandated mission to protect public infrastructure. Homeland Security officials distributed the list in a security bulletin to government and law enforcement officials, universities and gas drilling companies, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The company, which also has offices in Washington and Jerusalem, provides “actionable intelligence briefings” and “threat and hazard monitoring,” among other services, according to its website.
“I thought we were in America, and to me that’s almost like communism,” Barbara Pribila of the Lincoln Place Action Group, a Pittsburgh neighborhood group opposed to shale gas drilling, told the newspaper. “I thought this was a free country and I was allowed to have my own opinion. Now what, you’re going to watch me and every move I make? That’s not right.”