How did two nuns end up on a list of terrorists? Blame a now-defunct investigation by the Maryland State Police, who sent undercover troopers to spy on political groups and identify supposed terrorists, among them pacifists, environmentalists, a congressional candidate and those two feisty nuns.
Update: Marc Korman, a Maryland native and state Democratic Party official, gave us this background on the story: “Under the previous governor, a Republican named Bob Ehrlich, and [the previous] state police superintendent, there was infiltration and spying on protest groups that were anti-war, anti-death penalty, and anti-global warming. There was no suspicion of these groups, so it is not clear why this was occurring. The practice ended when the new governor came in but was not exposed until much later. There is a continuing fight on two issues:
“1. Whether to write into law that there needs to be suspicion before spying like this. The police say we don’t do it anymore, the legislators say we don’t want you to do it again so we’re going to legislate it.
“2. Whether those who were spied on can keep and publish copies of their records before they are expunged, which the police are doing.”
Los Angeles Times:
Maryland officials now concede that, based on information gathered by “Lucy” and others, state police wrongly listed at least 53 Americans as terrorists in a criminal intelligence database—and shared some information about them with half a dozen state and federal agencies, including the National Security Agency.
Among those labeled as terrorists: two Catholic nuns, a former Democratic congressional candidate, a lifelong pacifist and a registered lobbyist. One suspect’s file warned that she was “involved in puppet making and allows anarchists to utilize her property for meetings.”