- The Washington Times - Friday, December 22, 2000

The FBI has put Metro Transit Police along the Red Line on alert for any Inauguration Day protest plans posted on kiosks at the Tenleytown/American University station in Northwest, police sources have told The Washington Times.

The Tenleytown neighborhood and American University area are considered the hub and hotbed of anti-establishment activists who staged protests during the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in April, the sources said.

Protesters in April tried to block downtown streets, and metropolitan police arrested more than 1,000 activists during the four days of anti-World Bank demonstrations.

Daniel Holstein, a D.C. activist organizing demonstrations for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, laughed at the description of Tenleytown as a hotbed of activism.

"Have you ever been to Tenleytown? I don't know if it's a hotbed of anything," he said. "I don't believe [the police department's] intelligence gathering is that poor."

Transit Deputy Chief Polly Hanson referred inquiries about monitoring activists to the FBI.

The FBI does not comment on specific intelligence gathering measures, said Heather Hobson, a spokeswoman for the bureau's Washington field office.

"The FBI is trying to do anything to make the inauguration to go as smoothly as possible," Miss Hobson added. "We're trying to walk into this with our eyes totally open."

Mr. Holstein said activists routinely assume their telephones are being tapped.

Law-enforcement officials yesterday dismissed such comments as "over the top," noting that wiretaps can be carried out only with a court order.

Activists have accused police of infiltrating their groups before most of the major protests in the District in April and during the political conventions in Philadelphia and Los Angeles this summer.

It happened again Wednesday, when activists with the Justice Action Movement, the umbrella group for Inauguration Day protests, said they recognized a man at their meeting as a police officer.

"We outed one undercover cop," Mr. Holstein said. "We booted up a picture of him from the protests in April in a police parka. He said, 'That's not me.' "

Executive Assistant Chief Terrance W. Gainer, the D.C. police department's No. 2 officer, said he could not comment on undercover activity.

"The protesters continue to make their intentions known on the Internet, in newspaper articles, through cable-TV programs and open meetings," Chief Gainer said.

While not acknowledging whether the man at the meeting was a police officer, Chief Gainer questioned why the activists would have a picture of any law-enforcement officers.

"If they did have a picture, that indicates to me their involvement in countersurveillance," he said. "Why do peaceful protesters engage in that? Why does someone feel the need to take the picture of a police officer and hang it on a poster or put it on the Internet?"

Activists have made more serious accusations about "agents provocateur" at previous protests and upcoming demonstrations during Inauguration Day.

Mr. Holstein said a new member at an activist meeting about two months ago said, "Let's take a bunch of explosives and block the bridge."

He said the man's comment was ridiculous among a group with many members who view eating hamburger or wearing leather as violence.

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