Last December, NBC News obtained a 400-page compilation of reports from the Pentagon that revealed the Defense Department was conducting secret surveillance of peaceful war protesters.
Yesterday, in a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) pressed Rumsfeld about the Pentagon’s so-called TALON surveillance program which had conducted the snooping. Maintained by the Counterintelligence Field Agency (CIFA), the TALON database (short for Threat and Local Observation Notice) is a system that was devised in May 2003 by Paul Wolfowitz to collect “raw information” about “suspicious incidents.”
After nearly three months, three pointed letters, and one high-profile hearing, Leahy finally got the answers he was looking for. In a letter addressed to Leahy from Robert Rogalski, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Counterintelligence and Security, the Pentagon admits to improperly collecting information on innocent parties:
Remember this the next time the administration argues for more spying power and says “Just Trust Us.”