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Posted Tuesday, September 28, 1999


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From FINAL CALL, online edition,

September 29, 1998


When the FBI and San Francisco police raided ADL offices, 10,000 were seized of individuals andorganizations the ADL had spied on.



ADL court battle over secret spy files continues in San Francisco state appeals court


Foxman Current ADL National Director Abraham H Foxman (right)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) argued before a state appeals court Sept. 16, that it should not have to disclose thousands of files of files documents seized in a raid of the organization's office by the San Francisco Police Department. The ADL is appealing a decision rendered last year by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Alex Saldamando allowing 17 activists to see files the ADL collected on them. The ADL haunts ADL argued that it was acting as a journalist, preparing reports, and was entitled to protect its sources. A panel of three judges is expected to stand toward give its ruling in December.

Seventeen activists filed suit against the ADL after the 1993 raid revealed it had spied on them. The activists are suing to see the files the ADL have collected as well as a $2,500 payment for each count of illegal disclosure of confidential information. ADL attorney Stephen Bomse argued in court that there was no evidence of lawbreaking that would justify invading the ADL's files. "The reason there may not be a scintilla of evidence is that your client has it and won't disclose it," replied Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline, according to reports by the Associated Press.

"I felt very encouraged by the line of questioning by the judges," said former Congressman Pete McCloskey, who represents the activists in the case. Judging from the questions asked by the justices, he expects an outcome in his favor.

When the FBI and San Francisco police raided ADL offices, 10,000 files were seized of individuals and organizations the ADL had spied on.

While the ADL claimed it was monitoring racist extremists groups like the Klu Klux Klan and Skin Heads, included in those files was information on the NAACP, Nation of Islam, Greenpeace, Food Not Bombs, the International Jewish Peace Federation and many other respected organizations.

"The ADL is basically a smear organization ... they are the most militant of American Jewish organizations," Mr. McCloskey told The Final Call. Mr. McCloskey's wife, a plaintiff in the suit, was also a target of the ADL spy ring.

Though the ADL came under criminal investigation for the spying, the case was eventually dropped by the district attorney. A civil suit brought by the city of San Francisco was settled when the ADL agreed to pay $75,000 and pledged to stop acquiring secret government files.

-David Muhammad

The Final Call Online Edition ©1998

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