Courts & Crime

FBI's investigation of anti-war activists sparks protests

RALEIGH — About 35 people rallied outside the federal courthouse in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday to protest an FBI probe of anti-war activists.

Kosta Harlan said during the protest that two FBI agents visited his home in Durham, N.C., on Friday to question him. Two other agents were stationed outside the home he shares with his mother and brother.

Harlan, 26, has been active in the anti-war movement and helped organize protests in 2008 at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

"They said they had a lot of information about me and wanted to speak to me in relation to a terrorism investigation," Harlan said Tuesday. "I believe I'm being targeted for my anti-war activism."

Harlan said he told the agents he wouldn't talk without his attorney present. Later that day, Harlan said he went to a coffee shop in downtown Durham to meet with another activist. Within hours, FBI agents approached that person wanting to know what the meeting with Harlan had been about.

Amy Thoreson, a spokeswoman for the FBI field office in Charlotte, confirmed that agents went to Harlan's home. However, she said the agency would provide no further details about a continuing investigation.

Harlan, who works as a Web developer, moved to Durham in 2006 to help care for his older brother, who is receiving treatment at Duke Hospital for a brain tumor. An American of Greek descent, Harlan was born in Saudi Arabia, where his father worked in the oil industry. After attending high school in New Jersey, he earned a degree in philosophy at UNC Asheville.

Harlan's visit from federal agents comes after raids last week on anti-war groups in Chicago and Minnesota. Search warrants suggested agents were looking for connections between the American activists and radical groups in Colombia and the Middle East, the Associated Press reported. Some of those whose homes were raided said agents told them they are being investigated for suspicion of providing material support for terrorism.

"Everyone who is concerned about our democratic freedoms should be concerned about this intimidation by the FBI," said Harlan, who added that he had not been very active in the anti-war movement for the last year as his brother's health has worsened.

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