The Pentagon has admitted to “inappropriately” spying on gay groups protesting the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
According to SLDN, The Pentagon utilized a reporting program called TALON to spy on students at NYU, UC-Berkeley, and UC-Santa Cruz, three campuses especially vocal against the military policy. Keep in mind TALON was created a database of recording names of people, and their actions, involved in “suspicious incidents” against the US government, and is “a source of timely information about possible foreign terrorist threats,” according to documents from The Office Of Under Secretary Of Defense.
From the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:
The Department of Defense acknowledged that it had “inappropriately” collected information on protestors in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to a February report by United Press International.
In other words: The Feds fully admit they were spying on a bunch of college kids for no legitimate reason. They also stipulate they don’t know what other students were spied on, and are currently investigating how far the monitoring went. As we were involved in numerous protests during our college days, we can only imagine what the Feds have on us.
No word what the Department Of Defense intended on doing with this information, either. Hmm.
While they are finally admitting to the spying, reports surfaced back in December 2005 that gay students were being watched. We’re not sure why they’re just now getting around to admitting their mistakes…other than the fact that SLDN filed a lawsuit over the issue.
The Under Secretary of Defense’s documents go on to state “…TALON is an important and invaluable tool, and we have room for improvement…There is nothing more important to the U.S. military than the trust and good will of the American people.” Great, thanks. We find the timing interesting, as efforts to censure President Bush for wiretapping and spying on people without search warrants, which is just a teeny tiny bit illegal. We’re never going outside again.