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DOD documents show monitoring of anti-war groups for terror threats database

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] labeled anti-war activities as "potential terrorist activity" and monitored students, Quakers and other anti-war groups while collecting information for a domestic terror threats database, according to documents [case materials; press release] released Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website]. The documents, obtained from the DOD under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit [JURIST report], indicate that the DOD's Threat and Local Observation Notice system, or TALON database [Wired report; JURIST news archive], relied on information provided from sources in the Department of Homeland Security, FBI terrorism task forces and local police departments to monitor anti-war activities.

The ACLU lawsuit came after an NBC News report in December revealed that the military maintained the database of "suspicious incidents," including peaceful anti-war protests and groups. Vietnam war era regulations [PDF text] limit what information the military can collect about people and activities taking place inside the US, and the Pentagon launched an investigation [DOD press release; JURIST report] into possible misuse of the program. According to DOD officials, the investigation revealed that 261 entries were improper and subject to removal [JURIST report]. Military official have also acknowledged that some records were kept longer than the DOD's internal 90-day policy even though the groups had been deemed not to be a threat. The New York Times has more.

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