Prompted by the arrest of reporter and political activist, Ken Krayeske, three legislators have introduced legislation that would create an intelligence oversight committee to review information that’s gathered by state law enforcement agencies, but exempt from public disclosure.One of the authors of the legislation, state Rep. Tim O’Brien, D-New Britain, said Thursday the bill attempts to create a check on law enforcement.“We’d review information the public can’t see to make sure people’s names are being added to these lists for good reasons,” O’Brien said.
It’s still unknown how Krayeske’s name got added to this list of “possible threats to Gov. Rell by political activists.” But its clear from the Hartford Police report that the Krayeske became a person of interest to local law enforcement based on this list. The Hartford Police report written by Detective Jeff Antuna, states “I immediately recognized the accused as Kenneth Krayeske from the photographs provided by the state police.” Several lawmakers, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, and Hartford’s Mayor Eddie Perez have called for an investigation into the arrest, which created a large public outcry. Krayeske was taking photographs of Rell at the time of his arrest Jan. 3. State police have refused our request for the documents used to identify Krayeske on Jan. 3. And Rell said earlier this week that Public Safety Commissioner Leonard Boyle has not gotten back to her with the information she requested in her Jan. 8 letter. According to an article in the Courant today, “Sources familiar with the Krayeske security flier said it had the driver’s license pictures in color on the first page, and the second page had entries on episodes of Krayeske’s past civil disobedience and political activism.“State Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said two comments Krayeske made on Internet blogs got the attention of state police. The first comment was one he made on Connecticut Local Politics Dec. 14 in which Krayeske asked bloggers, “Whose going to protest the inaugural ball Jan. 3 with me?” The second comment he made was on his own web site the morning of Jan. 3. In that comment he made fun of the media restrictions for the day of inaugural events. “I scoped the area because I hoped to snap some photos of Rell during the inaug. I want file shots so when I report on her governance, I can have fresh images for the loyal viewing audience. Unfortunately, according to Mr. Harris, I won’t have much access,” Krayeske wrote referring to the one of governor’s spokesmen. But Krayeske’s attorney Norman Pattis suspects his client ended up on the list because he was a political enemy—Krayeske heckled Gov. M. Jodi Rell during the past campaign to include the Green Party candidate for governor in the televised debates. The problem is the state police deny maintaining any such lists, Pattis said last week. He said state lawmakers can hold all the hearings they want to find out about these lists and they will learn almost nothing because state law enforcement is a participant in federally managed programs designed, to protect national security. “The federal government actually trains state law enforcement to deny the existence of these lists,” Pattis said. State Police seem to have admitted to Pattis’ assessment of the situation in response to our FOIA request. “The agency does not maintain intelligence files on individuals who meet criteria set forth in federal regulations. Federal law prohibits the disclosure of such intelligence information to other than law enforcement agencies,” Dawn Hellier, an attorney in the Public Safety department wrote Jan. 9. O’Brien said this why he introduced the legislation which aims to gain access to what federal law enforcement authorities are asking state law enforcement agencies to do on their behalf. He said he wants to know what state police are being asked to collect.How would it work?O’Brien said the bill creates a committee 12 that includes the Democratic chairmen and the Republican ranking members of the General Administration and Elections, Public Safety, and the Judiciary Committee. The 12 members of this committee would review the information and documents from the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and other investigative agencies, including any coordination with federal agencies, not available under FOIA. O’Brien said the intent is not to make this information public, but to provide a check on law enforcement.The bill was referred to the General Administration and Elections Committee. Rep. Peter Tercyak, D-New Britain and Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington helped author the legislation.