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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Pentagon Wants to Spy on U.S. Citizens

The Pentagon is trying to persuade Congress to allow military intelligence agents to work undercover in the United States. This is a violation of the 1974 Privacy Act. The Senate version of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2005 includes this provision. Wired reports:

The bill would allow Pentagon intelligence agents to work undercover and question American citizens and legal residents without having to reveal that they are government agents.

That exemption currently applies only to law enforcement officials working on criminal cases and to the CIA, which is prohibited from operating in the United States.

Pentagon officials say the exemption would not affect civil liberties and is needed so that its agents can obtain information from sources who may be afraid of government agents, such as a green-card-holding professor of nanotechnology who formerly lived under a repressive government.

The military has increased its focus on antiterrorism programs within the United States, most notably by reorganizing its command structure in 2002 by creating the Northern Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The command is tasked with preventing and defeating threats and aggression aimed at the United States and helping civil authorities in the event of an emergency.

Such investigations should be conducted by the FBI, and the Department of Defense should not be engaged in widespread intelligence gathering in the United States, say civil liberties advocates...

Pentagon Seeks U.S. Spy Powers [Wired]

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