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The fur is still flying in Iowa. Although a U.S. Attorney withdrew a controversial subpoena served on Drake University that sought documents about the student chapter of the left-leaning National Lawyers Guild, lawsuits will likely follow. “It’s certainly not moot as far as we’re concerned,” said David Goldman of Des Moines’ Babich, Goldman, Cashatt & Renzo, who represents Drake University Law School Professor Sally Frank, the chapter’s faculty adviser. Goldman alleges that the subpoena and a gag order were aimed to chill First Amendment rights. Subpoenas that compelled four peace activists to testify before a grand jury were withdrawn, too. Whether the withdrawals were caused by the furor over the government’s actions is a matter of speculation, because the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa won’t say. But others are talking. “The government is trying to harass and intimidate persons active in the anti-war movement,” charged Bruce Nestor of Minneapolis’ De Leon & Nestor. Nestor, the immediate past president of the guild’s national organization, filed a motion to intervene and quash a subpoena and now demands a reckoning. Many are calling for a congressional inquiry. “We want to find out if this type of investigation is going on anywhere else in the country and prevent it from happening,” said Frank, the faculty adviser. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment. The records sought concerned a sparsely attended public forum the chapter co-sponsored last year at the university entitled “Stop the Occupation! Bring the Iowa Guard Home!” The subpoena compelled the university to disclose “the identity of officers” of the guild’s Drake chapter and the names of the people who attended the event. It requested annual reports that the chapter had filed and campus security records reflecting observations made of the Nov. 15 meeting. Before withdrawing its subpoenas, the government obtained a gag order, citing student privacy concerns, preventing anyone connected with the university from disclosing “the existence or contents of the subpoena.” But, in a rare move, the U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a statement about the scope of its grand jury inquiry. The government’s statement denied media reports that it was conducting an anti-terrorism investigation. “The purpose and scope of the inquiry has been narrowed to determine whether there were any violations of federal law, or prior agreements to violate federal law, regarding unlawful entry onto federal property.” The day after the forum, a nonviolent demonstration was held at the National Guard armory in Johnston, Iowa. Twelve protesters were arrested. But the U.S. Attorney’s statement said that its investigation did not concern the rally. Rather, it involved someone’s attempt that same day to enter the fenced perimeter of Camp Dodge, a National Guard base located a quarter-mile from the armory. A protester who stood on National Guard property at the outer fence line, but made no attempt to enter the base, was arrested, Frank said. A reading of the once-sealed application for the gag order contradicts the government’s statement. The application refers to an investigation of events that took place at the National Guard armory and the guild forum. It makes no mention of Camp Dodge. In re Ongoing Grand Jury Investigation, No. M-1-39 (S.D Iowa). When asked to comment about this inconsistency, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said “one possible explanation would be that the investigation had been narrowed.” The gag order application was filed on Feb. 6. The statement was issued on Feb. 9.

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