For those stumbling upon this post as a result of my recent comments on other blogs, you can find additional information regarding the alleged problems with the use of TALON for domestic surveillance at these links:
Additionally, I recently came across another document that sets forth a number of anti-war groups that were monitored by the government and the disposition of the surveillance, which can be found here.
The Coffehouse Soapbox reports that the Pentagon has admitted to "inappropriately" participating in domestic surveillance against gay and lesbian students who engaged in protests against military recruitment at law schools. The documents can be found here.
Initially a Freedom of Information Act Request for the documents was rejected by the government, and a federal action was commenced seeking to compel the government to release the requested documents.
In the documents obtained, it is revealed that the government used a reporting program called TALON to spy on students. The government admits that although the "TALON reporting system was intended to document suspicious incidents possibly linked to foreign terrorist threats to DoD resources, some came to view the system as a means to report information about demonstrations and anti-base activity that would be of interest to field commanders from a force protection perspective."
I'd like to say that I find this revelation to be unbelievable, but sadly, I can't. Srcastic at the Coffeehouse Soapbox aptly sums up the situation, such that I don't feel the need to add anything further:
So basically, the Defense Department is admitting that tools created for the purpose of investigating foreign terrorist activities are also being used to monitor gay law student citizens that demonstrate at a private university against compelled military recruitment, which openly discriminates against gay people. The Defense Department goes on to apologize to the congressmembers for the mix-up, and promises that they will be more careful in the future. But why should we trust the military, when the only reason that it admitted to spying on citizens was because secret documents were leaked and subsequently aggressively pursued by nonprofits and educational institutions? How do we know that this was the extent to which they were monitoring citizens? Can we really just take their word for it?