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Bill Proposed
After Gay Group Put on "Terrorist List"

Bill Proposed
After Gay Group Put on "Terrorist List"

Maryland may require police to have "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity before individuals or groups are placed on a list of potential terrorists.

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Maryland may require police to have "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity before individuals or groups being are placed on a list of potential terrorists. Thirty-two widely varied organizations, including the gay group Equality Maryland, Amnesty International, and the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration Committee, were on such a terrorist watch list, according to documents obtained by the the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.

A spying program began in 2005 under Republican governor Robert Ehrlich and his state police superintendent, Col. Thomas Hutchins, The Baltimore Sun reports. The operation lasted more than a year. Ehrlich, who left office in 2007, has denied knowing about the program.

State delegate Sheila Hixson, lead sponsor of the Freedom of Association and Assembly Protection Act of 2009 in the house of delegates, said it was clear the governor ordered the program. "State police get their orders from the executive department," the Sun quoted her as saying at a press conference Thursday. "They don't just decide on their own to spy on a group because they have nothing else to do."

Other lead sponsors were delegates Sandy Rosenberg, Tom Hucker, and Heather Mizeur and senators Jamie Raskin and Brian Frosh.

The ACLU first contacted the current governor, Democrat Martin O'Malley, about the spy activity in July 2008. The group sued to obtain documents from Maryland police, with the documents showing that at least 50 individuals were wrongly labeled as being involved in terrorism. (Michelle Garcia, Advocate.com)

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Bill Proposed
After Gay Group Put on "Terrorist List"

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