Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Monday, January 23, 2006
The dirty water defense
So Newsweek's lead blue dress chaser Michael Isikoff (finally putting his talents to good use, apparently) is reporting that the Department of Defense has been conducting its own domestic spying program that even some insiders are saying has gone too far. The program, called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or "CIFA," was supposed to be a top secret national security program aimed at protecting defense facilities. But apparently it also targeted anti-war, anti war profiteering protesters, including a small group that last summer was handing out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches outside Halliburton's corporate headquarters in Houston as a protest against the company's gouging of the U.S. military for food for the troops in Iraq. Writes Isikoff:
...To U.S. Army analysts at the top-secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), the peanut-butter protest was regarded as a potential threat to national security. Created three years ago by the Defense Department, CIFA's role is "force protection"—tracking threats and terrorist plots against military installations and personnel inside the United States. In May 2003, Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy Defense secretary, authorized a fact-gathering operation code-named TALON—short for Threat and Local Observation Notice—that would collect "raw information" about "suspicious incidents." The data would be fed to CIFA to help the Pentagon's "terrorism threat warning process," according to an internal Pentagon memo.

A Defense document shows that Army analysts wrote a report on the Halliburton protest and stored it in CIFA's database. It's not clear why the Pentagon considered the protest worthy of attention—although organizer Parkin had previously been arrested while demonstrating at ExxonMobil headquarters (the charges were dropped). But there are now questions about whether CIFA exceeded its authority and conducted unauthorized spying on innocent people and organizations. A Pentagon memo obtained by NEWSWEEK shows that the deputy Defense secretary now acknowledges that some TALON reports may have contained information on U.S. citizens and groups that never should have been retained. The number of reports with names of U.S. persons could be in the thousands, says a senior Pentagon official who asked not be named because of the sensitivity of the subject. ...
And the right wonders why so many Americans are suspicious of Bush's Nixonian no-warrant spy activities at the NSA. Key question: who is it that one would want to wiretap who was supposedly talking to al-Qaida, but whom the Bushies would have to worry the FISA court wouldn't give NSA a warrant for? Because if it's al-Qaida on the line, wouldn't they get a warrant in a New York minute?

Bush bots, grow up. If you really have such innocent, childlike trust that your beloved president wouldn't dare use warrantless spying on political enemies, diplomats (we've already bugged U.N. Security Council members, remember?) or even members of Congress... you really need a nanny.

Oh yeah, and this one hits close to home:
Four months later, on Oct. 25, the TALON team reported another possible threat to national security. The source: a Miami antiwar Web page. "Website advertises protest planned at local military recruitment facility," the internal report warns. The database entry refers to plans by a south Florida group called the Broward Anti-War Coalition to protest outside a strip-mall recruiting office in Lauderhill, Fla. The TALON entry lists the upcoming protest as a "credible" threat. As it turned out, the entire event consisted of 15 to 20 activists waving a giant BUSH LIED sign. No one was arrested. "It's very interesting that the U.S. military sees a domestic peace group as a threat," says Paul Lefrak, a librarian who organized the protest.
I remember that strip mall recruiting office. It was near where our headquarters were for the Dem 527 I worked for was located. The office is located in a part of Lauderhill that's almost entirely Black and heavily West Indian, lower middle class to middle class. Just what recruiters are looking for... I've got to tell you it's about as much a hotbed of al-Qaida activity as the family kitchen in "Soul Food." But then, I'm not a super secret DoD analyst or NSA "expert..."

... Meanwhile, what has Halliburton -- the "military-like entity" DoD was spying so hard to protect -- been doing with all that extra security (when they're not bilking Congress and the DoD, overcharging for gasoline in a country with 15 percent of the world's crude supply, trading with enemies of the United States or bribing the Nigerians? Why, they've been busy piping dirty, contaminated water to our men and women in uniform in Iraq. (The MSM is just catching up -- that story actually broke last September on the advocacy site HalliburtonWatch...)

The Republican circle of life continues.

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posted by JReid @ 3:44 PM  
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