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Md. State Police Spied on Climate Change Activists

Three members of a Maryland environmental group that fights climate change and promotes the use of alternative energy sources were wrongly classified as terrorists by the state police.

Mike Tidwell, founder and director of the Chespeake Climate Action Network, and former deputy director Josh Tulkin today joined other environmental leaders and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland in calling on the police to explain why the group was targeted.

"We're professional, skilled, mainstream people," Tidwell said at a press conference at the Silver Spring Metro station. "We are at the center of public conversation on climate change in this state."

Tidwell, Tulkin and a third staff member who does not want to be publicly identified were invited by the police to review their files before the information is purged from state and federal databases. Police have acknowledged that at least 53 individual and an undetermined number of advocacy groups were wrongly entered in state and federal criminal intelligence databases in 2005 and 2006.

Tidwell said he believes two peaceful protests at coal-fired power plants in 2004 and 2006 caught the attention of police, who spied on death penalty opponents and war protesters over 14 months when Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R) was governor.

It's unclear how Tidwell and other activists -- from abortion opponents to a group that opposes military recruitment in high schools -- came to be entered in the databases.

So far the activists have chosen not to review their files unless they can get hard copies and bring a lawyer, two conditions the state police have refused to meet.

By Lisa Rein  |  October 23, 2008; 4:03 PM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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So the police keep tabs on different groups. I am glad that someone does.

Posted by: gary4books | October 23, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Good police work should be commended...this however sounds like more political favors for the Bush Administration from Bob Erlich in exchange for fast-tracking the $3,200,000,000 ICC toll road environmental "study". I guess one hand washes the other.


Posted by: free-donny | October 24, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The Chief should have resigned before he allowed this. It is a blot on our fine state!

Posted by: robinficker | October 27, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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