January 18, 2007

Are YOU In The Talon Database?

Walter Pincus:
A Defense Department database devoted to gathering information on potential threats to military facilities and personnel, known as Talon, had 13,000 entries as of a year ago -- including 2,821 reports involving American citizens, according to an internal Pentagon memo to be released today by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Pentagon memo says an examination of the system led to the deletion of 1,131 reports involving Americans, 186 of which dealt with "anti-military protests or demonstrations in the U.S."

Titled "Review of the TALON Reporting System," the four-page memo produced in February 2006 summarizes some interim results from an inquiry ordered by then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld after disclosure in December 2005 that the system had collected and circulated data on anti-military protests and other peaceful demonstrations.

The released memo, one of a series of Talon documents made public over the past year by the ACLU under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, said that the deleted reports did not meet a 2003 Defense Department requirement that they have some foreign terrorist connection or relate to what was believed to be "a force protection threat."

The number of deleted reports far exceeds the estimate provided to The Washington Post just over a year ago by senior officials of Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), the Defense Department agency that manages the Talon program.

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