Next garbage day, take a good look at that person picking through your recyclables--they just might work for the FBI.

Today, The New York Times reports that the FBI is giving significant new powers to its agents to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention.  This includes searching databases, setting up surveillance and, yes, picking through the trash.  Sadly, this can all be done without a warrant.  The new policy allows agents to "look into people and organizations proactively and without firm evidence for suspecting criminal or terrorist activity."

Basically, the policy is simple: the FBI can investigate anyone they want.  And they do.  Remember the NYT article featuring Scott Crow?  The self described anarchist and organizer of anticorporate demonstrations was under FBI scrutiny for three years because of his legal, non-violent actions. 

Why does the FBI love to harass political activists? They're experienced at it and it's probably pretty easy work as opposed to finding true terrorist threats.  According to Michael German, ACLU Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy and a former FBI agent, “You have a bunch of guys and women all over the country sent out to find terrorism. Fortunately, there isn’t a lot of terrorism in many communities.  So they end up pursuing people who are critical of the government.”