Last week, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) made national headlines by becoming the first department to break from a Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), a longstanding partnership with the FBI that involves the collection of intelligence in the city. Now, a movement in the civil rights community wants police departments to take similar steps nationwide.
On Thursday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Asian Americans Advancing Justice, PICO and more than 10 other organizations launched the Stop Trump Intelligence Program, nicknamed TrumpIntelPro, to stop police from illegally surveilling and bullying vulnerable civilians — including Muslim-Americans, immigrants, and protesters. The coalition hopes to rein in other JTTFs before they collect intelligence on behalf of Trump and the FBI.
The TrumpIntelPro effort “will highlight model ordinances to protect civil rights, encourage local police departments to adhere to laws in their local jurisdictions rather than the FBI, direct calls into the offices of state and federal elected officials and provide concrete actions local communities can take to protect themselves from a rogue administration.”
Back to the future
The campaign is a direct response to what members believe will be a COINTELPRO-style program under the new administration. The latter was used to clandestinely obliterate black activist organizations, anti-war activists, and socialist groups in the 1970s — a mission that was achieved, in part, due to partnerships with local law enforcement agencies. Based on Trump’s executive orders in the past two weeks, TrumpIntelPro organizers anticipate that surveillance and illegal targeting of Muslims, immigrants and other racial and religious groups — with the help of local police — will escalate in the near future.