.c The Associated Press, Feb. 3
ATLANTA (AP) -- A college professor who was investigated by federal agents, allegedly for inviting a Cuban government official to speak at a symposium, sued the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI.
Beatriz Morales Cozier's federal lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Atlanta, seeks access to the entire file the FBI compiled on her during an investigation almost five years ago, when she was at Georgia State University. The suit asks that a federal judge review the file privately and determine whether ``national security'' justifies the deletion of many passages in the file.
Ms. Cozier, who immigrated from Cuba in 1961, originally asked for the file through the Freedom of Information Act. The FBI took 3 1/2 years to release the file and then gave her only 30 pages of the 62-page file, the lawsuit said, adding that many of the pages contained heavily edited portions under the justification of ``national security.''
``A law-abiding citizen has the right to know why the FBI is spying on her through her neighbors, friends and family,'' said Gerald Weber, one of Ms. Cozier's lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union. He argued that there is no reason national security would apply to her case.
The FBI repeatedly interviewed Ms. Cozier's family, co-workers and friends, and looked at her real estate, employment and tax records, he said.
Molly Halle of the FBI's office in Atlanta declined to comment Tuesday.
While at Georgia State in 1994, Ms. Cozier invited Jose-Luis Ponce, then secretary of the Office of Cuban Interests in Washington, to attend a symposium. Ponce accepted the invitation and allegedly criticized the U.S. government during his remarks.
A few weeks afterward, an FBI agent arrived at Georgia State and questioned Ms. Cozier, the lawsuit says. Ponce's visa was revoked in 1996 by the United States, in response to a decision by the communist Cuban government to expel a U.S. diplomat from Havana.
Ms. Cozier now teaches anthropology at Morris Brown College in Atlanta.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press