Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Raw Probes U.S. Anti-war Espionage
(Updated 12/15/05 8:30 PM)
I have a new article running at Raw Story today - Antiwar protests monitored by U.S. Military - which builds off of a Department of Defense database obtained by NBC News that lists nearly 50 peaceful protests during a ten month period that were viewed as possible "threats."
NBC's story - Is the Pentagon Spying on Americans? written by Lisa Myers, Douglas Pasternak, Rich Gardella and the NBC Investigative Unit - provided details on some of the groups and events on the list and my article added more.
I just got off the phone with a reporter from an NBC affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa who is planning to interview Elton Davis, a peace activist who was arrested at an anti-nuclear vigil included in the database (mentioned in my article). The August 9, 2004 vigil - for some reason - was entered into the database, months after it occurred, in November of 2004: a mystery.
Walter Pincus at the Washington Post reports that Pentagon Will Review Database on U.S. Citizens:
Pentagon officials said yesterday that they have ordered a review of a program aimed at countering terrorist attacks that had compiled information about U.S. citizens, after reports that the database included information on peace protesters and others whose activities posed no threat and should not have been kept on file.....
Although defense officials defended the Pentagon's interest in gathering information about potential threats to military installations and troops, one senior official acknowledged that a preliminary review of the database indicated that it had not been correctly maintained.
"On the surface, it looks like things in the database that were determined not to be viable threats were never deleted but should have been," the official said. "You can also make the argument that these things should never have been put in the database in the first place until they were confirmed as threats."
Also at WaPo, there's more info about other protests in William M. Arkin's blog, Early Warning.
Crooks and Liars has a video of the original NBC News report as featured on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show: Quakers!.
The NBC report based on my story is viewable at the Des Moines affiliate link: WHO TV. Just hit the link that says "Terror Watch List" and make sure you're using Internet Explorer. Although, Raw Story (and little old me) isn't mentioned in the segment...it's nice to see it reach a wider audience.
(Correction: This jealous Knicks fan wrote Elton Brand instead of Elton Davis)