"From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show. They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department's Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.
"From these operations, run by the department's 'R.N.C. Intelligence Squad,' the police identified a handful of groups and individuals who expressed interest in creating havoc during the convention, as well as some who used Web sites to urge or predict violence.
"But potential troublemakers were hardly the only ones to end up in the files. In hundreds of reports stamped 'N.Y.P.D. Secret,' the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law, the records show. These included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations, as well as environmentalists and people opposed to the death penalty, globalization and other government policies. Three New York City elected officials were cited in the reports. In at least some cases, intelligence on what appeared to be lawful activity was shared with police departments in other cities."