…that the police do, in fact, infiltrate small activist groups, here’s a selection of quotations from a well-informed paper from Studies in Conflict and Terrorism
“The security concerns [about infiltration] were openly discussed [by activists] and many critical analyses were offered locally and via the Internet. A particular effort was made to learn techniques for identifying law enforcement officers working in undercover capacities. This posed a serious concern for undercover officers, especially given the level of hatred many anarchists express toward the police.”
“Many law enforcement professionals view modern anarchists simply as a protest group. As long as the activity at large-scale protests is relatively contained and the protests do not devolve into riots, law enforcement may be tempted to ignore the movement. Violent revolutionary actions—including guerilla warfare—however, pose a threat to the communities and people that law enforcement officers are sworn to protect. To monitor that activity seems prudent”
“Infiltration into large affinity group meetings is relatively simple. However, infiltration into radical revolutionary ‘cells’ is not. The very nature of the movement’s suspicion and operational security enhancements makes infiltration difficult and time consuming. Few agencies are able to commit to operations that require years of up-front work just getting into a ‘cell’ especially given shrinking budgets and increased demands for attention to other issues. Infiltration is made more difficult by the communal nature of the lifestyle (under constant observation and scrutiny) and the extensive knowledge held by many anarchists, which require a considerable amount of study and time to acquire. Other strategies for infiltration have been explored, but so far have not been successful. Discussion of these theories in an open paper is not advisable.”
Notice, “few agencies are able … years of up-front work”. The implication of course, being that some are. Years of work? To infiltrate some anarchist commune with no telly or vacuum cleaner? Spend the days gardening and the nights getting drunk on homebrew and talking about revolution. Wonder how many go native?
Source: R. Borum & C. Tilby, 2005, “Anarchist Direct Actions: A Challenge for Law Enforcement” in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 28:201–223, Routledge, London.