The Pentagon's Controversial TALON Program |
In May 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz initiated a new program designed to assemble and share "non-validated domestic threat information among intelligence, counterintelligence, law enforcement, security, and force protection entities."
Grown out of the Air Force neighborhood watch program Eagle Eyes, the new reporting scheme was named TALON, Threat and Local Observation Notice. While the program is designed to record potential terrorist pre-attack activity, media reports over the past few months show that the Pentagon has been monitoring anti-war and anti-military activity, potentially overstepping the bounds of legitimate homeland security efforts. CIFA, the Counterintelligence Field Activity, oversees TALON, as part of its mission to "deliver actionable information to Defense Department decision-makers." (Read the Department of Defense memo that gives an overview of the TALON program.)
Below, find several links that will lead you to more information about this and other government intelligence gathering efforts.
William M. Arkin, journalist and military analyst, maintains this daily blog on the site of THE WASHINGTON POST to track issues related to the national security community. This page is an archive of his coverage of the domestic role of the military, including information on intelligence gathering programs.
DoD Memo on TALON, May 2, 2003
This memo from then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz directs the "Collection, Reporting, and Analysis of Terrorist Threats to DoD Within the United States," thereby implementing the TALON program.
DoD Memo on TALON, January 13, 2006
This memo on "Retention and Use of Information for the TALON System" delivers orders from the Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordan England to clean up the TALON database, removing reports that should no longer be included.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
The nonprofit ACLU is a sharp critic of government surveillance programs, and presents a series of web pages called "Spy Files" with the motto "Keep America Safe and Free." This page links to explanations of "illegal spying" being done by various government agencies.