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DHS Caught Spying on American Citizens During Recent Protests

NOT OKAY.

In America, we fancy ourselves a free people.  We are a nation founded on the belief that liberty, above all, makes a society both fair and prosperous.  We were born from a distrust of government, and that is a lesson that is now more important than ever.

As protesters across the country take to the streets, they are largely applauded for their willingness to express their first amendment rights.  Even if we may disagree with them, their right to speak their mind is absolutely vital to the health of our republic.

And that right shall not be impeded by anyone, least of all the federal government.  Unfortunately, that appears to be precisely what is happening today.

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A senior Department of Homeland Security official told a Senate committee earlier this month that the department had not collected, exploited or analyzed information from the electronic devices or accounts of protesters in Portland, Ore.

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But an internal DHS document obtained by The Washington Post shows the department did have access to protesters’ electronic messages and that their conversations were written up in an “intelligence report” that was disseminated to federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, as well as state and local governments.

In a letter sent Friday, Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Brian Murphy, acting DHS undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, about statements he made to committee staff on July 23 regarding the department’s intelligence activities in Portland.

This Orwellian affront to the rights of American citizens is disturbing, no matter what side of the aisle you hail from.

There is no easy or peaceful way to step back over these thresholds that we are crossing, so every minute movement must be measured and justified, particularly as it pertains to government surveillance.

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