It appears that the acting as the private security firm for TransCanada:
Unexpected visitors have been dropping in on anti-oil activists in the United States — knocking on doors, calling, texting, contacting family members.
The visitors are federal agents.
Opponents of Canadian oil say they’ve been contacted by FBI investigators in several states following their involvement in protests that delayed northbound shipments of equipment to Canada’s oilsands.
A lawyer working with the protesters says he’s personally aware of a dozen people having been contacted in the northwestern U.S. and says the actual number is probably higher.
Larry Hildes says it’s been happening the last few months in Washington State, Oregon and Idaho. He says one person got a visit at work, after having already refused to answer questions.
“They appear to be interested in actions around the tarsands and the Keystone XL pipeline,” Hildes said in an interview.
“It’s always the same line: ‘We’re not doing criminal investigations, you’re not accused of any crime. But we’re trying to learn more about the movement.“’
He’s advised activists not to talk — and they mostly haven’t. That lack of communication has made it a little complicated to figure out what, exactly, the FBI is looking for.
The bureau hasn’t offered too many clues.
Is anti-oilsands activity an actual focus of the FBI investigation, or is it merely incidental? The bureau won’t say.
What it will say is that it only investigates potential crimes, not political movements.
“The FBI has the authority to conduct an investigation when it has reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has engaged in criminal activity or is planning to do so,” said FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich.
“This authority is based on the illegal activity, not on the individual’s political views.”
But activists say oil sands opposition appears to be the common thread among people being contacted. Police have been in touch with people from different groups, who in some cases don’t agree on much, but one thing they share is mutual participation in the so-called megaload protests.
Why is the FBI acting as TransCanada’s Pinkertons?
At what level is this being authorized?