Courts & Crime

Did Army infiltrate anti-war group in Washington State?

A Yale Law School faculty member and military law expert said he is disturbed by allegations that Fort Lewis employed a civilian who spied on an Olympia-based anti-war organization.

Eugene R. Fidell, a former judge advocate for the Coast Guard and the president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said such a practice appeared to violate the Posse Comitatus Act, a federal law that prohibits the use of the Army for conventional law enforcement activities against civilians.

Last week, members of Olympia Port Militarization Resistance presented evidence that John J. Towery, a civilian employee of Fort Lewis Force Protection, infiltrated the group using an assumed name and conducted surveillance of its members for about two years.

OlyPMR member Brendan Maslauskas Dunn said that after the information came to light, Towery admitted that he was spying on members using the name John Jacob. As John Jacob, Towery was one of five administrators of OlyPMR’s listserv e-mail list, giving him names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all members.

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