Colorado Rights Blog


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ACLU asks Denver to withdraw from FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force

May 18, 2005


In a letter sent yesterday to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and the members of the Denver City Council, the ACLU of Colorado urged Denver to withdraw its detectives from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The letter followed the ACLU’s release of documents that it said confirm that the JTTF is targeting peaceful political activists for harassment and building files on constitutionally-protected political activities and associations that have nothing to do with terrorism or other criminal activity.


The ACLU obtained the documents in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act submitted in December, 2004, on behalf of 16 organizations and 10 individuals.


In the letter, the ACLU explained that the assignment of two Denver detectives to work full time for the FBI prevents Denver from complying with a key provision of the Settlement Agreement that resolved the “Spy Files” lawsuit in 2003. The Agreement requires Denver to hire an independent agency to monitor its compliance with new regulations that are designed to protect First Amendment rights and prevent law enforcement from compiling files on peaceful political activity. The independent auditor is unable to evaluate whether the FBI-assigned detectives are complying, however, because FBI secrecy prevents the auditor from obtaining the necessary information. The ACLU suggested that Denver should follow the example of Portland, Oregon, which resolved a similar accountability problem in April, 2005, by withdrawing its detectives from the FBI task force.


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