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Stratfor emails: FBI had “classified investigation” open on PETA in 2009

Terrorism or just plain old advocacy? Image credit.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is not exactly an extremist group. Famous for its high profile publicity stunts — among them the "We would rather go naked than wear fur" campaign in which celebrities appear naked in advertisements — PETA is so benign that high school students form clubs to support the organization, not unlike student ACLU or Amnesty International groups.

Not exactly terrorism.

Nonetheless, if the Stratfor private intelligence firm is to be believed, the FBI had a "classified investigation" open in 2009 on "PETA operatives." 

The subject came up at Stratfor because, if the emails are to be believed, Coca Cola tasked the intelligence company with answering "a long list of questions regarding PETA/Animal Activism and the upcoming Olympics in Vancouver…" Among those questions were the following, according to Stratfor:

— How many PETA supporters are there in Canada?
— How many of these are inclined toward activism?
— To what extent will US-based PETA supporters travel to Canada to
support activism?
— What is PETA's methodology for planning and executing activism?
(Understanding this better would certainly help us to recognize
indicators should they appear.)
— To what extent is PETA in Canada linked to PETA in the US or
— To what extent are the actions of PETA in one country controlled by
an oversight board/governing body?
— To what extent could non-PETA hangers-on (such as anarchists or ALF supporters) get involved in any protest activity?
Fred Burton, Stratfor VP for Intelligence, allegedly responded to this inquiry from his staff by informing colleagues of the ongoing "classified" FBI investigation into PETA. "I'll see what I can uncover," the email reads.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.