Pentagon to Increase Domestic Surveillance for Counterterrorism

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by poncho, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. poncho

    poncho
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    Monday, August 01, 2005
    By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

    Fox News

    WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense has developed a new strategy in counterterrorism that would increase military activities on American soil, particularly in the area of intelligence gathering.

    The move is sparking concern among civil liberties advocates and those who fear an encroaching military role in domestic law enforcement.

    In an argument that eerily foreshadowed the July London terror attacks, the Pentagon in late June announced its "Strategy for Homeland Defense and Support," which would expand its reach domestically to prevent "enemy attacks aimed at Americans here at home."

    The strategy, approved by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England (search ) on June 24, argues that the government needs a multi-layered, preventive approach to national defense in order to combat an unconventional enemy that will attack from anywhere, anytime and by any conceivable means.

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    Critics say the fears raised by the Pentagon are being used as a justification for the military to conduct wider, more intrusive surveillance on American citizens.

    "Do we want, as a free people, with the notion of privacy enshrined in the Constitution and based on the very clear limits and defined role of government, to be in a society where not just the police, but the military are on the street corners gathering intelligence on citizens, sharing that data, manipulating that data?" asked former Rep. Bob Barr (search ), R-Ga., a constitutional law expert and civil libertarian.

    "This document provides a blueprint for doing just that.

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  2. poncho

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    Barr said the new strategy is a back-door means of following through with a 2002 plan to create a massive, centralized information database using public and private records of individuals, called "Total Information Awareness." Congress killed TIA in 2003 because of civil liberties and privacy concerns.

    Critics say they believe much of TIA lives on in some form through smaller, undisclosed military contracts. This latest plan, they say, is one way of jump-starting TIA's initial goals.

    "This is TIA back with a vengeance," said Barr. "What they have come up with here is a much vaguer and much broader concept that sounds more innocuous. [The Pentagon] is getting much smarter in how to sell these things.

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