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The ADL's reputation took something of a hit in 1993 when Roy Bullock, an independent contractor providing much of the ADL's intelligence, was caught by the San Francisco district attorney's office keeping files on numerous individuals and groups from left to right, including Greenpeace, labor unions, anti-Apartheid groups, Religious Right groups, members of the U.S. Congress, and Arab-American groups, and illegally obtaining files from the San Francisco police department. Although the ADL took pains to insist they were Bullock's personal files and not the ADL's, the ADL settled out of court in 1999 with some of the targeted groups who had sued them.
The ADL's reputation took another hit in 2007 when, in a massively hypocritical move, their director Abraham Foxman opposed recognition of the genocide against Armenians that took place 1915-1917; the ADL reversed their official position later that year after a public outcry.
Criticism by anti-Zionists
Some people have criticized the ADL for using charges of anti-Semitism as a bullying tactic. Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein have both accused the ADL of smearing Israel's political opponents as anti-Semites or worse (as if anything could be worse) and Jewish critics of Israel as self-hating Jews (including them).