Pentagon Caught Spying on U.S. Anti-War and Anti-Nuclear Activists
Thursday, December 15th, 2005http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/15/155219
Newly leaked Pentagon documents have confirmed the military has been monitoring and collecting intelligence on anti-war groups across the country. Peace protests are being described as threats and the military is collecting data on who is attending demonstrations. We speak with William Arkin, the former Army intelligence officer, who obtained the secret Pentagon documents. Earlier this week NBC News exposed the existence of a secret Pentagon database to track intelligence gathered inside the United States. The database including information on dozens of anti-war protests and rallies particularly actions targeting military recruiting.
The list included: counter-military recruiting meetings held at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Forth, Florida. Anti-nuclear protests staged in Nebraska on the 50th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki. An anti-war protest organized by military families outside Fort Bragg in North Carolina. And a rally in San Diego to support war resister Pablo Parades. The Pentagon database described all of these events as threats.
The documents obtained by NBC also indicate the Pentagon is now conducting surveillance at protests and possibly monitoring Internet traffic. One Pentagon briefing document stamped "secret" concluded: "[W]e have noted increased communication and encouragement between protest groups using the [I]nternet." The same document indicated the military is tracking who is attending protests in part by keeping records on cars seen at protests.
The Washington Post is reporting today that the Pentagon has ordered a review of the military intelligence program following the NBC News report.
The Pentagon's domestic intelligence gathering has been done through a secretive program called TALON which allows military bases and other defense installations to file reports of suspicious activity into a consolidated database.
The TALON program is so secret that even the number of reports in the database is classified. Also classified is the size and budget of the agency overseeing the database - the Counterintelligence Field Activity. The agency was created three years ago following the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Pentagon also now has a toll-free number for citizens to report suspicious activity directly to the military. The number of the hotline is 1-800-CALL-SPY.
- 1-800-CALL-SPY - recorded message.