Ohio law enforcement is linking Erin Brokovich to a potential “special-interest terrorism” threat in eastern Palestine
Ohio law enforcement released a report late last month warning that events planned by environmental activist Erin Brockovich in eastern Palestine could spark a terrorist threat from violent extremists, according to a Yahoo News intelligence bulletin.
Dated February 24 and distributed to law enforcement agencies by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Ohio Statewide Terrorism Analysis & Crime Center Terrorism Analysis Unit Situational Awareness [STACC TAU] The report, obtained by Yahoo News, “estimates that extremist interest groups will continue to demand changes in government policy, which may lead to protests in/around East Palestine and/or at the Statehouse in Columbus.”
The report then highlights the response of Brockovich, a whistleblower who helped build a successful lawsuit against California utility Pacific Gas and Electric in a case involving contaminated groundwater over the February 3 train derailment and release of toxic chemicals in eastern Palestine.
“On February 24, environmental activist Erin BrockovichUSPER [United States person] said to be in East Palestine to explain legal rights to residents. Brokovich has urged the community to use common sense and ask questions. Brockovich also blames Norfolk Southern solely. STACC TAU estimates that this event could potentially increase tensions within the community.”
The report assesses the risk posed by Brockovich and other activist groups planning events in eastern Palestine following the Norfolk Southern train derailment and the controlled burning of vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic ingredient used to make plastic products after the derailment.
“According to the FBI, special-interest terrorism differs from traditional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist special-interest groups seek to solve specific problems rather than bring about sweeping policy changes,” the report said. “Such extremists engage in acts of politically motivated violence to compel sections of society, including the general public, to change their attitudes on issues deemed important to the extremists’ cause.”
Brockovich, played by actress Julia Roberts in the 2000 film of her name, was in eastern Palestine Thursday afternoon to host an event. She did not immediately respond to Yahoo News’ request for comment.
This situational awareness report is highly problematic, said former FBI agent Mike German, who worked on a recent Brennan Center report on problems with DHS fusion centers.
“Apparently there is no reason to include Erin Brockovich’s name or a description of her advocacy group in a law enforcement intelligence report, let alone a situational awareness report from a state fusion center’s terrorism analysis unit,” German told Yahoo News. “Nearly all of the activities described in this report are legitimately protected under the First Amendment and do not pose a threat and therefore should not be of interest to terrorism intelligence.”
Contacted by Yahoo News, the Ohio Department of Public Safety denied that it issued a report identifying Brockovich as a possible terrorist threat.
“Erin Brokovich is listed as an ‘environmental activist,’ and her brief mention falls under the heading ‘various individuals or groups have responded to the train derailment,'” Jay Carey of the Ohio Department of Public Safety told Yahoo News in an email. “The fact that she is an ‘environmental activist’ who is ‘responding to the train derailment’ is fact and has been well documented by media reports. Any other conclusion is wrong.”
DHS released the report on its intelligence-sharing platform on Feb. 28 and made it available to its more than 150,000 local, state and federal police officers and other partners across the country.
“Fusion centers are state and local owned and operated centers that actively share, analyze, and operationalize threat-related information among federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners,” a DHS spokesman said in a statement per E -Mail explanation message sent to Yahoo. “DHS supports fusion centers through the presence of DHS personnel and information exchange technology, but DHS does not operate or operate fusion centers.”
The report also referenced environmental group Earthjustice, which it said “urged Governor DeWineUSPER to declare a state of emergency,” noting the “contaminated waterways” and subsequent deaths of thousands of fish.
“Earthjustice works with communities across the country to protect people’s health,” Debbie Chizewer, lead attorney for Earthjustice’s Midwest regional office, told Yahoo News.
“In East Palestine, Earthjustice is supporting partners who have been exposed to toxic chemicals as they call for much-needed resources, monitoring, clean-up of contamination, and safeguards to prevent disasters like the explosion of a freight train laden with chemicals in the future.”
The report, obtained by Yahoo News, said that officials from the East Palestinian Police and Fire Department reported receiving threats but dismissed them as unreliable. However, it was not clear why they were mentioned in the report.
“This report should not have detailed any non-criminal activity, particularly after it stated that the Terrorism Analysis Division was ‘not aware of any credible direct threats related to the train derailment in East Palestine,'” German said. “This flawed reporting only clogs our national intelligence agencies with inappropriate material that undermines effective counter-terrorism and law enforcement analysis by overwhelming intelligence analysts with unhelpful misinformation that dampens response to genuine threat alerts.”
Former acting undersecretary of DHS John Cohen agreed that the inclusion of Brockovich’s name was, as he put it, “a bit problematic” and said law enforcement needed to be more careful in describing what is and isn’t a threat.
“When reporting online or other activity that could constitute protected speech, authorities must be very clear about how that speech relates to activity related to threats or other public safety issues,” Cohen told Yahoo News. “It’s okay to catalog what different people are saying, but from a law enforcement perspective, they need to be clear about where there is a connection to the need for an operational response.”
https://news.yahoo.com/ohio-law-enforcement-links-erin-brockovich-to-potential-for-special-interest-terrorism-threat-in-east-palestine-000636477.html Ohio law enforcement is linking Erin Brokovich to a potential “special-interest terrorism” threat in eastern Palestine