FBI serves terrorism warrants in Minn., Chicago

Jess Sundin
Anti-war activist Jess Sundin in a file photo from June 24, 2008. Sundin called the suggestion she and others were connected with terrorism "pretty hilarious and ridiculous."
MPR Photo/Laura Yuen

Members of a Minneapolis anti-war group say FBI agents raided their homes Friday morning.

FBI spokesman Steven Warfield confirmed that agents working with a federal Joint Terrorism Task Force served six search warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago. Warfield said the FBI is seeking "evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism."

The homes of Minneapolis anti-war activists Mick Kelly, Jess Sundin and Meredith Aby were among those searched, activists said at a press conference Friday afternoon. Aby said she and several others also received subpoenas Friday to appear before a grand jury next month.

Sundin said agents took boxes of papers, her cell phone and CDs from her home. Sundin said her group, the Anti-War Committee, opposes U.S. involvement in civil wars in other countries.

"I believe they were looking for information to in some way hinder our work and solidarity with the people of Colombia, Palestine and elsewhere," she said.

"The FBI is harassing anti-war organizers and leaders, folks who opposed U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America," Kelly said before agents confiscated his cell phone.

Sundin called the suggestion they were connected with terrorism "pretty hilarious and ridiculous."

Anti-war protester Mick Kelly shows a large bruise where he says police fired a beanbag at him in a protest during the Republican National Convention in a 2008 file photo.
MPR Photo/Tim Post

Sundin said she wasn't arrested, nor were some of the other activists whose homes were raided.

Warfield said he couldn't comment on whose homes were searched or give details on why because it's an ongoing investigation. "There's no imminent threat to the community," he said.

The searches were first reported by the Star Tribune.

Sundin said she wasn't certain exactly what kinds of information the FBI was after or who else had been searched in either city.

An FBI SWAT team entered first "and looked for pointy things. And then they left and the FBI agents came in and looked through everything in the house," she said.

The agents took "computers, several boxes of papers, everything related to data like discs," Sundin said.

Both Sundin and Kelly were organizers of a mass march on the first day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul two years ago, and recently appeared at a news conference to announce plans for another protest if Minneapolis is selected to hold the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Police estimated the peaceful march drew 10,000 protesters; organizers put the figure at 30,000. Other protests were marked by destructive acts by anarchists. More than 800 people were arrested during the four days of the convention, including Sundin.

Sundin said they've already sought permits for 2012, "something I don't think terrorists would do."

The FBI's spokesman in Chicago, Ross Rice, would only say two searches were conducted Friday in Chicago and that there were no arrests. He declined comment further.

Asked about the reports, the U.S. Attorney's office spokesman in Chicago, Randy Samborn, confirmed warrants were served in the city "in connection with a law enforcement investigation." He also declined to provide details.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)