Oct. 16 – Documents released last week by the American Civil
Liberties Union expose the extent to which the government considers First
Amendment-protected activities and civil disobedience a "potential terrorist
The documents were obtained as a result of a lawsuit the ACLU filed in
June, after the Pentagon stonewalled a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request
initiated in February. The ACLU filed the FOIA request to follow up on repeated
reports that the Department of Defense was monitoring protest activities and
The documents reveal that the military is tracking groups through its
terrorism-watch database Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON). The
Department of Homeland Security, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and local
police departments have supplied information to the Pentagon to help with
surveillance, the documents show.
One of the TALON documents was written to "alert commanders and staff" to a
counter-recruitment protest the Broward Anti-War Coalition (BAWC) was staging at
the Ft. Lauderdale Air and Sea Show. The alert, submitted by the Miami-Dade
police department, said, "BAWC plans to counter military recruitment and the
‘pro-war’ message with ‘guerilla theater and other forms of subversive
Another document revealed the government is tracking some of the
anti-recruitment activities of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker
A third TALON report detailed counter-recruitment rallies in Georgia, and
cited Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, and Iraq Veterans Against
the War as participants.
In December 2005, NBC News obtained part of the TALON database that
included reports on about 48 anti-war meetings or protests.