Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shields Wants Answers on 'Espionage Against citizens'

Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields says he is “flabbergasted” by the actions of the security contractor hired by the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security. The nonprofit group was apparently keeping tabs on people protesting Marcellus Shale drilling and other hot topics. Shields says since the news broke, people have been calling his office and saying they are afraid, asking him if they are “on a list somewhere.” Among the events apparently monitored by the department was this week’s public hearing in Pittsburgh city council chambers on a bill that would ban shale drilling in Pittsburgh. Shields says in a report tat was leaked to reporters, the group that received the contract with the state painted shale protesters with a broad brush as extremists. Shields says he wants to know more about the group. “Who is on the board of this not for profit corporation, how is it that a nonprofit corporation begins to receive contracts from the state of Pennsylvania to engage essentially in espionage against citizens of the commonwealth who spoke up?” Shields says people want to know if there is a dossier on them, and if pictures were taken while they were at Monday’s hearing or if they have been tracked at other events. “While people may say I’m a bit paranoid there are other people in the state feeling the same way I do,” says Shields, “am I on a list somewhere… where images of me captured at Frick Park along with 600 other of my neighbors who went to see Gasland?” Shields says this incident should not be without consequences. He has called for an investigation by an independent legal council. He wonders if this is a politically motivated issue, “When you have people who had connections to the federal government that are now working them, and yes I’m talking about the former Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge, and a company with a huge footprint here in the Marcellus Shale beds, Halliburton Company, having connections with Dick Chaney, who’s reaching in and directing our agencies of our state?” says Shields.

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