Officials Hiding Report Showing How Obama Administration Wrongly Tracked Abortion Groups

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 13, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Officials Hiding Report Showing How Obama Administration Wrongly Tracked Abortion Groups

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 13
, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Wisconsin state Justice Department will not release a report revealing more details about how the Obama administration improperly conducted a threat assessment on pro-life and pro-abortion groups in Wisconsin. The assessment came before a rally last year in response to the University of Wisconsin Hospital board decided to allow abortions.

In February 2009, pro-life advocates planned to protest the hospital’s decision to open up a new Madison Surgery Center doing abortions.

The Department of Homeland Security admitted in February that it conducted the assesment and an internal memo AP obtained said the Obama administration "destroyed all of the copies of the assessment after an internal review found it violated intelligence gathering guidelines about ‘protest groups which posed no threat to homeland security.’"

The assessment was reportedly only shared with the director of Wisconsin’s intelligence-sharing center and local police in Middleton, Wisconsin, the site of the rally.

Wisconsin officials say the report will stay under wraps.

Their decision to refuse to release the report comes after the Middleton police department refused a similar request from AP to release its copy.

AP says the police department would not release the report because it contains sensitive law enforcement information and Wisconsin officials are keeping its copy private saying that releasing it could jeopardize its relationship and sharing of information with other law enforcement agencies.

Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, told LifeNews.com today she is disappointed by the decision and said her group would continue to work for the release of this report, despite the ongoing refusal.

"It is disconcerting that law enforcement agencies refuse to release to United States citizens information that has been gathered about them," Hamill said. “The stifling of free speech activity is a slippery slope. Those of us who defend the preborn are not second-class citizens and we refuse to let our First Amendment rights be chilled.”

In response to an open records request by the Alliance Defense Fund and Pro-Life Wisconsin, the Middleton Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, along with the Department of Homeland Security all refused on February 4 to release copies of the threat assessment.

Pro-Life Wisconsin officials told LifeNews.com initially that the assessment was "inappropriately shared" and should never have targeted pro-life groups.

“The majority of Americans identify themselves as pro-life, and the Middleton Police Department has shown they are out of touch with this peaceful majority,” Hamill said in February. “Pro-lifers are not a minority of the population, nor are they second-class citizens. We refuse to let our First Amendment rights be silenced.”

A few months after the assessment was compiled, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights concluded the investigation was an improper use of department resources.

The conclusion said the department inappropriately directed against activities protected by the First Amendment, in which law enforcement inappropriately engaged in “the collection, retention and dissemination of U.S. person information regarding protest groups which posed no threat to homeland security and… violated [DHS] Guidelines.”

Hamill said DHS destroyed its copies of the report, but the Middleton Police Department retained its copy as did state officials.

Hamill blamed the Obama administration for taking an inappropriate action.

“Last year, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano unjustly included pro-lifers in a report on domestic terrorism, and here we see her words in action," she said.

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