Continuing Abuse of Pentagon Power

ACLU Report Shows Widespread Pentagon Surveillance of Peace Activists (1/17/2007)

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today released a new report revealing that the Pentagon monitored at least 186 anti-military protests in the United States and collected more than 2,800 reports involving Americans in an anti-terrorist threat database.

“It cannot be an accident or coincidence that nearly 200 anti-war protests ended up in a Pentagon threat database,” said Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU. “This unchecked surveillance is part of a broad pattern of the Bush administration using ‘national security’ as an excuse to run roughshod over the privacy and free speech rights of Americans.”

The ACLU report reviews hundreds of pages of Defense Department documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed last year. The documents revealed that the surveillance of peace groups and anti-war activists was more widespread than previously known.

The latest document obtained by the ACLU, and released today, is an undated 2006 memo reviewing the Defense Department’s Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) database, which was found to list several peaceful protesters as potential threats to the military. According to the memo, as of February 10, 2006, the Defense Department had deleted 186 TALON reports that involved “anti-military protests or demonstrations in the U.S.” In addition, the Defense Department identified 2,821 TALON reports remaining in the database that contain what the Department describes as “U.S. person information,” but it is unclear whether those reports pertain to protest activities.

Read all of it, including original DoD documents, here.

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