Infiltrator Sapone exposed again

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2008:
WASHINGTON D.C.– New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg on
August 7, 2008 asked the National Rifle Association to disclose full
details of the alleged espionage activities within gun control
organizations of Mary McFate, 62, also known as Mary Lou Sapone.
McFate/Sapone was exposed a week earlier by James Ridgeway,
Daniel Schulman, and David Corn of Mother Jones magazine.
“According to Mother Jones,” summarized Lautenberg to NRA
president John C. Sigler, “Mary McFate spent more than a decade
rising through the ranks at several gun violence prevention
organizations, including CeaseFire PA, Freedom States Alliance, and
States United to Prevent Gun Violence. At the same time,
McFate-going by the name Mary Lou Sapone-reportedly was a paid
‘research consultant’ for the NRA. As a result, McFate/Sapone was in
a position to learn about, and to report back to the NRA on, the
concerns, plans and strategies of various gun violence prevention

“In light of these serious charges,” continued Lautenberg,
who at age 84 is the senior U.S. author of gun control legislation,
“I call upon you to immediately admit whether these charges are true
or false; if these charges are true, disclose the precise nature of
the NRA’s relationship with Mary McFate/Mary Lou Sapone, including
how much she was paid, the time periods for which she received
payment and the services she provided; make public the names
(including any aliases) of any other NRA employees, consultants,
members, or volunteers who have joined gun violence prevention
organizations in order to report to the NRA on their activities; and
denounce and discontinue the practice of asking or encouraging NRA
employees, consultants, members and volunteers to infiltrate gun
violence prevention groups.”
Ridgeway, Schulman, and Corn outlined links among
McFate/Sapone, her daughter, her son, and her daughter-in-law to
private intelligence-gathering and opinion-shaping projects as far
away as Iraq and Afghanistan. For the NRA, McFate/Sapone worked
under then-NRA Institute of Legislative Action director James J.
Baker. Baker is now managing director of Ogilvy Gov-ernment
Relations, which has given more than $271,000 to the John McCain
presidential campaign. Baker was in 2006 named by the International
Herald Tribune as part of McCain’s “kitchen cabinet.”
McFate/Sapone in 1987-1988 infiltrated Friends of Animals and
Earth First! as a volunteer, and became vice president of the
Connecticut Animal Rights Alliance, while working for a now defunct
private security firm called Perceptions Inter-national. Perceptions
International was hired by former U.S. Surgical owner Leon Hirsch to
spy on protesters who were opposed to the use of dogs in sales
demonstrations of surgical staples. Sapone befriended fringe
activist Fran Trutt, loaned her the money to buy four pipe bombs,
and introduced her to another Perceptions International employee,
Marcus Mead, who in November 1988 drove Trutt to place one of the
bombs in the U.S. Surgical parking lot. Arrested at the scene,
Trutt served a year in custody.
U.S. Surgical publicized the arrest as discrediting animal
rights activists–but Sapone’s role was disclosed within days by the
late Animal Rights International founder Henry Spira, who
interviewed Trutt in jail; Westport News editor John Capsis, to
whom Mead told his story; and then-Animals Agenda editor and news
editor Kim Bartlett and Merritt Clifton, who are now the president
and editor of ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Bartlett had warned activists months earlier that Sapone fit
the profile of an infiltrator. Sapone in January 1988 suggested
bombing Hirsch to Clifton, at a Connecticut Animal Rights Alliance
party. Clifton told Sapone that she had consumed too much alcohol.
Friends of Animals sued U.S. Surgical over Sapone’s
activities. The case and related actions were in court for nearly 10
years, but never went to trial.

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