Friday, March 5, 2010

"DoD Releases Records of Illegal Surveillance"

William Fisher has an important post up at Truthout. Apparently, the Department of Defense has a difficult time sticking to the law when it comes to surveillance of the American people. Once upon a time, this would have been a scandal for days and weeks across the pages of U.S. newspapers and network news broadcasts. Today, it's left to intrepid journalists, like Fisher, and brave human rights and civil liberties watchdogs, like Electronic Frontier Foundation.

From Fisher's story, DoD Releases Records of Illegal Surveillance:
Defense Department agencies improperly collected and disseminated intelligence on Planned Parenthood and a white supremacist group called the National Alliance, an Air Force briefing improperly included intelligence on an antiwar group called Alaskans for Peace and Justice, and Army Signals Intelligence in Louisiana unlawfully intercepted civilian cell phone conversations.

These are among the disclosures made this week in the release of more than 800 heavily-redacted pages of intelligence oversight reports, detailing activities that the Defense Department's (DoD) Inspector General has "reason to believe are unlawful."

The reports are the latest in an ongoing document release by more than a half-dozen intelligence agencies in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

The reports, submitted to the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) by the Inspectors General of the various Department of Defense components, cover the period from 2001 through 2008. The IOB's role within the Executive Office of the President is to ensure that each component of the intelligence community works within the Constitution and all applicable laws....

This new release comes from various DoD components, including the Army and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Much of the improper activity consisted of intelligence gathering on so-called "US Persons," including citizens, permanent residents and US-based organizations.
See the article for all the eye-opening details.

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