FBI Asks Metro to Help Ferret out Inaugural Protests

Article excerpt

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. …