CHICAGOIn 2002, Chicago police officers infiltrated five protest groups. They also launched four other spying operations in 2003. Civil rights activists call these actions outrageous. The investigations followed a court decision that expanded the departments intelligence-gathering powers.
In 2002, undercover officers attended meetings, rallies and fund-raisers of the Chicago Direct Action Network, the American Friends Service Committee, The Autonomous Zone, Not in Our Name, and Anarchist Black Cross.
Police targeted these groups because protesters were threatening to disrupt the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue, a meeting of international business leaders held in Chicago in 2002. The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the police for targeting the American Friends Service Committee in 2002.
Chicagos new spying activity comes from the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision in 2001 to modify the so-called Red Squad consent decree. This federal decree of 1982 barred the city from gathering information on suspected terrorist and hate groups because it violated the First Amendment right to free speech.