Feinstein wants to know current FBI activity at UC

The Associated Press
Monday June 24, 2002

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has sent a letter to the FBI asking whether the federal agency is currently conducting unlawful intelligence activities at the University of California. 

The letter, dated June 18, 2002, comes as the Bush administration and Congress are expanding the FBI’s domestic intelligence powers to prevent terrorist acts. 

“We did receive the letter, and we will respond to the senator as quickly as possible,” Bill Carter, an FBI spokesman in Washington, D.C., told The San Francisco Chronicle. 

On June 9, The Chronicle reported that FBI records, obtained by the newspaper after a 17-year legal battle, showed that the bureau had conducted unlawful intelligence activities at the University of California in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Feinstein, a Democrat who is California’s senior senator and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, gave a copy of her letter to The Chronicle. 

In the letter, the senator said she was concerned by court findings that the FBI had repeatedly violated the Freedom of Information Act by delaying the release of bureau records on the University of California and by blacking out public information on its activities. 

Feinstein added that she was especially concerned now, following Attorney General John Ashcroft’s new policy allowing the Justice Department to defend federal agencies seeking to deny freedom of information requests. 

“Many read this as a signal to agencies that future FOIA requests are to be stonewalled,” Feinstein said. “As you know, and we have seen from this Chronicle article, FOIA is often the only way the American people can be assured of government accountability.”