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Pentagon Admits Spying On Gay Groups


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Pentagon Admits Spying On Gay Groups

by Paul Johnson, 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief

April 11, 2006 - 1:00 pm ET

(Washington) After months of silence the Department of Defense has confirmed that it spied on groups opposed to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, the law banning openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members.

Last December media reports said that the Pentagon has been spying on “suspicious” meetings by civilian groups, including student groups opposed to the military’s "don't ask, don't tell". (story)

The reports said that the Pentagon had spied on New York University law school’s LGBT advocacy group OUTlaw and gay groups at the State University of New York at Albany and William Patterson College in New Jersey.

In February, the DoD acknowledged in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee that it had ‘inappropriately’ collected information on protestors but did not name any of the organizations.

That same month the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network filed a lawsuit to obtain information related to the government’s domestic spy program when the Pentagon turned down a Freedom of Information Act request (story).

In response to the lawsuit the DoD now has released details on its TALON database.

Although the newly released reports may not be a complete list of groups monitored, it does confirm domestic surveillance of protests at New York University , the University of California at Berkeley , and the University of California at Santa Cruz .

DoD also indicated that it will continue to search for other documents related to SLDN’s FOIA request.

“The Department of Defense has now confirmed the existence of a surveillance program monitoring LGBT groups,” said C. Dixon Osburn , executive director of SLDN.

“Pentagon leaders have also acknowledged inappropriately collecting some of the information in the TALON database. That information should be destroyed and no similar surveillance should be authorized in the future. Free expression is not a threat to our national security.”

©365Gay.com 2006


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