ACLU sues for documents on TALON military database of domestic terror threats

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; press release] Wednesday seeking to force the US Department of Defense to reveal information collected for a domestic terrorist threats database that was allegedly used to spy on peaceful anti-war protesters across the United States. In February, the ACLU submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text; DOJ materials] request for information collected by the Air Force's Threat and Local Observation Notice system, or TALON [Wired report], and a federal judge in May ordered the DOJ to comply with the request [JURIST report]. The complaint for injunctive relief, filed on behalf of almost 30 activist groups who may have been targeted by the program, requests that the court order the DOJ to immediately process the FOIA requests and make the materials available to the plaintiffs.

An NBC news report last December revealed that the TALON program listed as a "threat" several peace groups, including a meeting of Quaker anti-war activists, which may have led to surveillance of the groups as a terrorist threat. 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] last December into possible misuse of the program. According to DOD officials, the investigation revealed that 261 entries were improper and subject to removal [JURIST report]. AP has more.

 

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