OAKLAND -- The FBI kept a watchful eye on the local Occupy movement last year, especially while it was planning protests to shutdown West Coast ports, according to documents obtained by the ACLU of Northern California.

The 13 pages, obtained in a public record request, include FBI reports on Occupy protests in Oakland, a Jan. 27 meeting on how to deal with a possible Occupy Oakland action the following day at the Oakland International Airport, and an FBI alert to private corporate security officials before the attempted shutdown of the Port of Oakland on Dec. 12.

More troubling to the ACLU is that the bureau has refused to release an additional 24 pages of documents it acknowledges having, citing the need to protect confidential informants and protect national security.

"What we are really interested in finding out is why Occupy rises to that level," said ACLU attorney Linda Lye. "The bottom line issue for us is Occupy is a political activist organization, and the FBI has a history of surveilling political activists."

The ACLU first filed its public record request in March for records on Occupy protests in Northern California, Lye said. It sued the agency in July after it refused to provide any of the requested documents.

Lye said the ACLU suspects the FBI has far more than 37 pages of reports on the local Occupy movement and will continue trying to obtain the records.

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6345.



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