WASHINGTON (AP) -- The congressman who heads the committee overseeing the Department of Homeland Security is asking for a review of the agency's involvement in Maryland State Police surveillance of anti-war and death penalty opposition groups.
"The politically motivated surveillance of dissident domestic groups that have neither a link to terrorism nor promote violence is ... a deplorable use of taxpayer funds," Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
Documents detailing the surveillance in 2005 and 2006 were released last week in response to a lawsuit filed by the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The surveillance was done during former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich's administration. Ehrlich said in an interview on Baltimore radio station WBAL-AM that he was not asked to approve the surveillance. Ehrlich said it was approved by an assistant under the attorney general at the time, J. Joseph Curran Jr., a Democrat and father-in-law of current Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley. O'Malley beat Ehrlich in the 2006 election.