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February 10, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 06
 
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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

 

 



Pentagon admits to improper domestic spying
Pentagon admits to improper domestic spying
Report comes one day after SLDN files federal lawsuit seeking information



According to a February 7 report from United Press International, the Department of Defense has admitted, in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee, to collecting "inappropriate" information on protestors. The revelation comes after numerous media reports that groups opposed to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law were the target of domestic surveillance programs. It also follows a federal lawsuit, filed Monday by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), demanding information on such surveillance.

"The Department of Defense has not only acknowledged that it conducted surveillance of civilian groups, but also that the surveillance and information collected were 'inappropriate,'" said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of SLDN. "There are unanswered questions, however, about the exact information collected, the purposes it was used for and what DoD now intends to do with that information. SLDN will continue to pursue the truth about our government's spy program and we will continue to press for answers about why it was implemented in the first place."

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) reported during a Committee hearing that information was collected as part of the Defense Department's TALON domestic surveillance program. TALON was created in 2003 to collect information relating to possible foreign terrorist threats to defense personnel and facilities. All data collected must be analyzed and, if deemed invalid, must be discarded within 90 days. The Pentagon acknowledged in its letter that some such data was not removed within the required time period. "DOD will soon conclude its review of the program to determine precisely what needs to be done to correct its flaws," Senator Levin said on Tuesday.

In addition to SLDN, the American Civil Liberties Union has also filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for TALON reports on protestors.

In December, NBC News first reported that as many as four dozen protests were labeled as "suspicious incidents" in that database. A FOIA request filed by SLDN in January to obtain more information about the program and its impact on the LGBT community elicited no substantial information from those agencies, forcing the organization to seek a court order in a lawsuit filed on Monday.

Complete information on SLDN's lawsuit and the domestic surveillance program are available online at www.sldn.org .

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and related forms of intolerance. For more information, visit www.sldn.org.



A SLDN press release

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