Has US Pentagon revived Bush-era domestic spy program?
June 25, 2010 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A little-known US Department of Defense counterintelligence is suspected to have resuscitated a notorious Bush-era domestic surveillance program, which was banned by Congress for being too obtrusive. In 2002, the then Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz authorized the Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON), a US Air Force intelligence collection program aimed to gather data on potential threats to American armed forces personnel in the US and abroad. But the initiative was allegedly shelved by the Bush administration, after it emerged that TALON intelligence collection focused largely on political policing against lawful antiwar groups. But now new reports suggest that an obscure unit under the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), called the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC), is creating a new system of consolidated databases whose focus closely resembles that of TALON. Official descriptions of the DCHC surveillance program state that it will focus on information that would help Defense analysts “identify or counter foreign intelligence and terrorist threats to the DoD and the United States”. But two anonymous US officials told reporters that, back in 2007, when TALON was banned, most of its intelligence collection focus was actually transferred to DCHC. The latter scaled down but essentially continued the controversial intelligence activities. Speaking on behalf of the DIA, spokesman Donald Black denied that the new DCHC database resembles TALON’s focus.