Excerpt from TED Blog, interview with Will Potter;
You testified before Congress in 2006 about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. What is it, and what was your experience?
That’s right. I testified about my reporting before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act — a federal law passed in 2006 (which expanded a previous law called the Animal Enterprise Protection Act). It says that any activists who cause a loss of profits — that’s the language of the bill — to animal enterprises, or that interfere with the operations of these enterprises, can face prosecution. The language, though, is so incredibly broad that when I testified, I was talking about, for instance, nonviolent civil disobedience outside a fur store. Or blocking the entrance to a slaughterhouse. And the sponsors of the bill on the committee acknowledged that it could be used that way. So in other words, a counterterrorism law is being designed to be used against nonviolent protestors. I raised the same concerns I’m raising today — namely, that this sweeping use of terrorism laws could be used against nonviolent protestors, against undercover investigators and whistleblowers.
Another thing people should really know about that law is that it passed the House with only about six lawmakers in the room. On that day, almost all of them were down breaking ground on the new memorial honoring Dr Martin Luther King. So you only had a handful of the people in the room, and they snuck this bill through using an obscure procedure that’s meant for non-controversial bills. So that same procedure was used to honor the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the World Series — that type of thing. And then it was used to push through a terrorism bill that could brand what Dr. King did as terrorism.