Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Military "Spying" In The U.S. -- Be Afraid!

I originally had this as an update to this post, but decided it deserved a post of its very own (with some editing):

This week's Newsweek has a new article out on the TALON program, using scary words to describe it. The frightening sub-header: "The Pentagon has its own domestic spying program. Even its leaders say the outfit may have gone too far."

Reading down in the article, we learn how the "outfit" went "too far":

"But at the same time, they acknowledge that an internal Pentagon review has found that CIFA's database contained some information that may have violated regulations. The department is not allowed to retain information about U.S. citizens for more than 90 days—unless they are "reasonably believed" to have some link to terrorism, criminal wrongdoing or foreign intelligence. There was information that was "improperly stored," says a Pentagon spokesman who was authorized to talk about the program (but not to give his name). "It was an oversight."

Yep, it's 1984, just 22 years late: they didn't delete files after 90 days. While some might think that this is clearly evidence of Bush/Cheney/Rove using either mind-control rays or direct phones calls to the O-3 in charge of deleting files to keep them from doing it, others might recognize that this is more likely an administrative error -- someone didn't update their tickler file. The article also confirms how the military "spied" on the protest groups:

"The presentation... shows that CIFA analysts had access to law-enforcement reports and sensitive military and U.S. intelligence documents... But the organization also gleaned data from "open source Internet monitoring." In other words, they surfed the Web."

Here's how it works: they had local law enforcement forward them any reports they might have had on a group, visited their web site, and then determined if the group might be a threat to attack a recruiter or try to rush the gate at a military base. Not as a "threat" to the "neo-con agenda", but as a threat to attempt to breach base security, or commit assault, or vandalism. They didn't use military spies to try to infiltrate the organizations, or go through their trash. Just as I did, Citizen Smash made many of these same points late last year...

Update 2110 22 Jan: I just realized what "improperly stored" could also mean. The JO in charge of maintaining the database might have made another copy of the spreadsheet somewhere else, as a backup. (Didn't want to accidentally delete the only copy of the TALON database... try explaining that to your boss!) Then, when the main file was updated and purged, the backup copy had been forgotten, but someone searching the various public folders ("public" in a SIPRNET sense, not available to the general public) found it, and went to the press. Maybe even more likely than the "faulty tickler" explanation...

Unless, of course, it was found in the same folder as floor plans for "Room 101"...


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