Ex-Special Agent Testifies That Anti-Abortion Groups Often Carry Al Qaeda-Like Manuals

As the federal court hearing on Alabama's TRAP bill continues, there was some really chilling testimony last week from an former undercover agent who has worked on domestic terrorism cases.  It's worth recapping here as part of our coverage because this weekend marks the 5th anniversary of Dr. George Tiller's murder in Wichita, KS — as he was attending church.

Last Wednesday (5/28) Margarent Moore testified about clinic terrorism.  This woman isn't only knowledegable and experienced — she's a badass.

Some highlights from her resume:

  • Undercover narcotics cop for the NYPD.
  • Joined the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms) and worked undercover for them infiltrating the IRA.
  • Worked on the first World Trade Center bombing.
  • While at the ATF, she also worked undercover in investigating abortion clinic bombings in the 1980's in NY, WA, and IA.
  • Named the first female Special Agent in Charge of the ATF. She stayed there for 23 years.
  • After retiring from the ATF, Moore joined the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) as Director of Law Enforcement Operations. 

She is now retired, but shared a wealth of information about her experiences fighting crime and domestic terrorism. 

Moore described how clinic violence stops doctors from wanting to get into the field, and how it's hard to find people to work at the clinics. Domestic terrorism means people get shot, maimed, and their right to privacy is always violated because the violent people go to any means necessary to stop abortion. (The state at this point actually had the nerve to object and state that she was not an expert on clinic violence, which Judge Thompson overruled.)

She shared a retrospective of clinic violence through the previous four decades:

  • The first act of arson at a clinic was in 1976, and got worse into the 1980's.
  • During one year in the '80s, bombings and arsons happened 25 times.
  • Mass protests and blockades also started in the '80s, with sometimes up to 200 people participating in these activities in places such as Atlanta.
  • Abortion opponents stepped up their game in the 1990's and began murdering doctors.  Dr. Gunn in Pensacola was killed in 1993. Dr. Britton at the same Pensacola clinic was killed by Paul Hill, who also killed the doctor's escort/bodyguard, a retired Lt Col and injured the Lt Col's wife. Several other doctors were killed then the Birmingham clinic was bombed by Eric Rudolph, who also bombed a clinic in Sandy Springs, GA and a gay nightclub, too. Canada had murders as well.
  • Then Dr. Tiller was killed in 2009, after surviving a previous attempt to kill him by the Army of God. The Army of God is a designated terrorist group by the U.S. government and DOJ.
  • Roeder (Tiller's killer) stalked the Doctor for two weeks before shooting him in his church.

Moore's job was to stay in touch with clinics nationwide and alert them about any strange activities because the Army of God had threatened almost everyone.

  • U.S. Marshals were brought in to watch the other doctors that worked with Dr. Tiller.
  • Death threats came in to other clinics regularly.
  • Although Roeder says he acted alone, Cheryl Sullinger's (of Operation Rescue) phone number was found in his car.

Moore also described the "wanted posters" and the websites that post people's entire information including family members and social security numbers. She said some of these groups have "manuals" just like Al Qaeda.

  • There were 2 acts of violence in clinics in 2013, 6 in 2012. 20 incidents of stalking in 2013, and 6 in 2012.
  • In 2013 there were 6,484 disruptions at clinics. 

Moore stressed that no other industry in the United States experiences this kind of violence, and that the numbers are probably even higher than reported.  She doesn't see the violence abating any time soon and thinks it will probably escalate. Alabama, in particular, is a difficult state for clinics because they get little support from local police departments.

The state's attorneys continued their bumbling cross examinations, asking "why doctors do this work" if it's so dangerous?

Um... let me think.  Why do people join the military, work as police officers, firefighters, provide humanitarian aid in war zones, or infiltrate drug cartels if it's so dangerous?  Maybe because they know they're doing important work that might not get done otherwise.  They care more about the people around them — even strangers — than their own skins.

Remember: the state's legal team is the same group of dim bulbs who previously suggested that more doctors would perform abortions if only the clinics paid more.

It's pretty clear what their personal and professional motivations are, and they can't seem to even conceive of why anyone would do a dangerous job if they could get out of it.

That's just sad.

Behind on the trial coverage?  Get caught up with these previouis blog posts:

The hearing resumes in Montgomery on Thursday, June 5th, with closing arguments on Friday, June 6th.


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